“Songwriters are the unsung heroes behind American music. Every song you hear comes from the heart and mind of a songwriter. Songwriters create the notes and lyrics on the page. This is the copyright in the musical composition that any artist can record. Unlike recording artists, however, most songwriters are not famous and they do not make money by touring and selling merchandise. Many songwriters do not have salaries, benefits and other reliable sources of income. They rely on public performance royalties to earn a living, feed their families and pay the rent.
“There have been seismic changes in the music landscape. People no longer buy the music they love, they stream it. Streaming services offer more choice and more consumer control. As a result, they require access to a massive variety of songs in order to provide users with an optimally tailored content experience. This means that the use of music has increased exponentially, but the payments have not followed. For a songwriter, this is a terrifying trend.”
– Elizabeth Matthews. CEO, ASCAP, on the need to reform the ASCAP consent decree that governs how songwriters are paid.