A recent article published by The Tennessean reported that producer and songwriter Kevin Kadish only received $5,679 in royalties from 178 million streams for his hit song “All About That Base”. Kadish spoke at a Congressional roundtable hosted by the House Judiciary Committee, where the major topic of discussion was the Songwriter Equity Act which, via a Copyright Royalty Board, sets the guidelines for artists’ compensation for radio airplay and streaming services .
Many musicians, producers & songwriters currently feel that they are being shortchanged by streaming services because they are not receiving the fair market value for their copyright material. They also claim that the inequity is due to a lack of transparency in how royalties are actually brokered and distributed. Kadish along with several other members from all corners of the music industry are pushing for a modification to the Songwriter Equity Act, which would seek to create a willing buyer, willing seller arrangement for songwriters and publishers. Copyright owners would be able to offer the fair market value of their songs, including synchronization licensing, as evidence when arguing the digital royalty rates at the federal Copyright Royalty Board.
Meanwhile stocks for streaming services like Pandora are spiking with the anticipation that the Copyright Royalty Board will keep royalty rates low for streaming services. While Pandora touts its platform as great exposure for up-and-coming and little know artists, they also try to negotiate the lowest rate possible to pay those artists for the right to stream their music. Considering that the rate of compensation over the last 100 years has only increased by 7 cents, to 9.1 cents per song, its apparent that something needs to change in order to rectify the disparity of compensation that artists must endure.