YouTube videos make people money, but songwriters rarely see any of it

From The Guardian:

There’s a certain irony to the fact that in an era when outside songwriters and producers are used more than ever (well, at least since the heyday of writers such as Bacharach/David in 1960s) – they’ve been decimated when it comes to revenue share. They have almost disappeared completely when it comes to being credited for their work – online.

A little over a decade ago, the income streams for a professional songwriter were pretty straightforward. There were basically three of them: sales of records, radio play and, once in a while, a synch for a movie soundtrack or an ad.

The synch deals would be negotiated, with the rate often depending on how famous the artist was (using a U2 track would cost much more than a track from an unknown act), and the songwriter usually signing off on the deal.

Sales rates were a set percentage of the price and radio play was paid as a percentage of ad revenue with a minimum per play or, for the BBC, a per-play set rate. We pretty much knew how much we’d get for a certain amount of spins or sales. Perhaps that is why iTunes gets so much love from artists and songwriters – it’s transparent.

Not so with most of the rest of the digital music services. As collection societies, labels and publishers are forced to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) covering the deals they make with services such as YouTube and Spotify, the artists and songwriters they represent are not allowed to know how much, or on what basis, they’re supposed to be paid.

Continue reading the rest of the story on The Guardian