The more I read about the compensation that music creators receive for their work, the more frustrated I get with the seemingly myopic perspective of the streaming music services like Apple, Google, Deezer and others.
Erin M. Jacobson, a music attorney, gives an excellent and concise overview of the current hearing that is taking place in the US. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), a panel of judges, is hearing from the music industry and music creators in order to set the “mechanical” rates that will dictate how much music creators will be paid from 2018 through 2022. This Trial Will Determine Songwriters’ Income Over the Next 5 Years.
There is a serious problem when a music creator earns only $10 for a million Pandora streams. Potentially a single account streaming the same track 24/7 would generate about 10,000 streams per month. Extrapolating this, roughly 1,000 accounts could generate a million streams per month. Those 1,000 accounts would bring in about $10,000 monthly to the streaming service. So, the people creating the music receive $1 for every $1,000 of gross revenue.
Again, the crux of the problem is the revenue model only provides a reasonable income to the elite performers. This model does nothing to encourage new music creators and as Jacobson states, with no change in revenue generation and sharing, will ultimately hurt both the music industry and music creators.
“As I have previously written, the music industry will continue to wither without fair compensation to its creators and those that represent them. Creators of music are not all rich superstars. They are regular people with amazing talents to create music that impacts lives around the world. They are people with families and mortgages and bills to pay. They may not work a 9-5 office job, but that doesn’t make them different than the average American earning a paycheck. Why shouldn’t songwriters and their representatives also earn a living from their skills?”