I don’t post a lot about the music business for different reasons. Even though I have a lot of experience, and even have done things many people would consider having “made it” I still don’t feel like I have it figured out. I have a similar thing about advice in general. No doubt people like to hear about how to succeed, but if anyone has spent anytime reading here you see pretty quick I have a bit of a philosophical view on success, further – and I mean this seriously, I believe there are too many people missing the operative word with regard to music as in “play” music… just like “play” sports. Sure it is a multi billion dollar business, but far too few people play anymore. Having said that, today I will be posting briefly about some disturbing trends in the music business. Rodney Jerkins is a producer writer who co-wrote the top 10 Justin Bieber hit As Long As You Love Me. His writing partner owned 20% of this top 10 hit. His royalty statement had him earning$149,000.00 in 3 years. Top 10 hit, 3 years in, $149,000.00 from BMI. I’ll post part of the article then a link:
“The song played on the radio, it had 347,820 spins. The royalty amount on that alone, was $53,000.”
“Let’s fast-forward to this page, the interesting page.
“Sirius XM, not bad. 1,509 spins, earned him $765 dollars.
“You ready for this?
“Pandora: 38,225,700 spins earned him $278.
[audience laughs; starts talking; one person says ‘WOW!’]
“I’m not finished.
[audience quiets down]
“YouTube: 34,220,900 spins earned him $218.17.
[chatter in the audience]
“Now I did the math for you guys. That’s on 20%. If he were to own 100% of the song, on YouTube he would have earned $1,100.
“If he owned 100% of the song on Pandora, he would have made $1,400.
[audience member: ‘jeez’]
“That’s why I wanted to get involved. Because to me, looking at those numbers, that’s criminal. LINK TO ENTIRE ARTICLE
I believe it is criminal. I believe it is unsustainable… it is unethical. With music licensing I made more on 1 song I write than 34,220.900 plays on YouTube (or Pandora). As an example I wrote a tune that MTV used repeatedly on a show. Every time the show played I made $300.00 ($150.00 actually after the split with Jingle Punks) The show repeats, rolls out to Europe etc, and the checks keep coming in for me every 4 months. Granted – I have no radio play (yet), and I am just taking one example… but Pandora is the same – and I would venture to say – most streaming is as well. It is horrible. Currently I don’t use any streaming services. Not streaming on these commercial sites was never a conscious plan… but at the moment it seems counter-intuitive if one wants to maintain control of their intellectual property / publishing / profits / creative sovereignty. Anyway – thought I’d share because if you are a musician, and you write – you need to be alert and vigilant. Til next time….