The Global Songwriter Shell Game: Why The Major Music Companies Are Getting Your Royalties

Reblogged from Tunecore Blog

In the past five years, hundreds of millions of dollars of songwriter royalties have been generated and never paid to the songwriter, or have been given to Warner Bros, EMI, Universal, Sony and others based on their market share- estimates put this new income at over half a billion dollars.
Once these companies get the money, they keep it and don’t account to anyone.
All the while, the songwriters that earned this money have no clue their pockets are being picked, their royalties are not being paid, and their rights are being violated.
I discovered this infringement and lack of royalty payments while embarking on a journey to discover how much money TuneCore Artists earned as songwriters. In the past three years, TuneCore Artists have sold over 500 million songs and earned over a quarter billion dollars from the sale of the recordings of their songs. With the help of Jamie Purpora, the former SVP Bug Music Publishing Administration and now President TuneCore Songwriter Publishing Administration, we identified another $60 to $70 million earned by these artists in songwriter royalties. The upsetting part, over 70% of this money never made it back to them. And keep in mind, I’m only talking about artists that use TuneCore—there are many more.
This infringement and lack of payment is one of the biggest outrages of the music industry and yet it is rarely talked about and even more rarely understood.
It needs to stop.
Let me explain the nutshell version of how it happens.
The new music industry is global. However, outside of the United States, digital services require additional rights, use different royalty rates and pay the owed royalties differently than the United States music industry. The end result is:
-The digital music service does not get all the rights needed from songwriters and therefore never pay the songwriter the money he/she is owed.
-At the same time, local performing rights and collection agencies outside the U.S. illegally take a % of the songwriter’s money while making it impossible for the songwriter to get what’s left over.

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One comment on “The Global Songwriter Shell Game: Why The Major Music Companies Are Getting Your Royalties

  1. granbee says:

    Yes, this is a large part of the basis for SOPA and PIPA, which needs to be rewritten to prevent invasion of privacy on the internet. How CAN the U.S. get other countries to respect copyrights?

    Like

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