Over the past few years, it has become more and more obvious that streaming music is the way of the future, but there are still a lot of things to figure out. Streaming services are trying to work out a business model that allows them to be sustainable and profitable, but who’s getting the raw end of the deal? In the case of Pandora, it seems to be the writers.
One songwriter shared her story.
Ellen Shipley co-wrote Belinda Carlisle’s “Heaven is a Place on Earth.” She shared that while the song has been streamed millions of times, she’s not seeing any of the benefits. Instead of looking to remedy this, Pandora is planning to cut songwriters’ royalties again, something they already did once back in 2005. They are looking to make an 85% cut. To highlight the severity of the situation, Ellen shared some numbers:
Ellen goes on to explain how this is affecting the industry: “Pandora talks a great deal about their need to make a profit and to survive… but they could care less about the fate of those creators who already are hurting so badly, they are dropping out of music. According to the Federal Census, we have lost 45% of our professional songwriters in the last ten years.”
As a Grammy-nominated hit songwriter, Ellen’s story exposes a major problem, especially relevant during a time when so many of the most popular songs in the world aren’t written by the people who profit from them. With the new structure of the industry, we’re moving away from viewing music as a product and towards viewing it as a service. With that in mind, maybe it’s time to revaluate the value of songwriting as a service, or to at least consider some new options for a sustainable business model that doesn’t cut corners in order to make sure that only the major players with already deep pockets are getting their money.
Read the rest of what Ellen had to say at Digital Business News.