Do Songwriters & Composers Receive a Fair Share?

Photo Credit: National Music Council of the United States

The influence of music, commercial to cultural diplomacy, has never been greater; however those who create the songs may be getting undercut, from emerging technologies to outdated legislation. The risk is not only that the songwriter and composer may be squeezed but that the works which we rely upon for entertainment to inspiration will come to gradually wither. Now, the US Congress has before it a bipartisan bill to remedy and update.


What the US does frequently also establishes a global precedent. Over the last several years “diplomat-artists” representing a variety of musical influences, Beyonce to Angelique Kidjo, Bono to Stevie Wonder, have taken on the role beyond the global citizen to ambassadors for a broad range of causes.The legislation before the US Congress is now a concrete measure after years of rapid change that needs to be complemented by a revised perspective on ownership and royalties. ASCAP President Paul Williams states: “The Songwriter Equity Act represents an important first step toward updating an outdated music licensing system that treats songwriters differently than other copyright owners and prevents us from earning a fair market royalty rate when our music is streamed or downloaded online. We are grateful to Senators Hatch, Whitehouse, Alexander and Corker and Representatives Collins and Jeffries for their efforts to attract bipartisan support for these simple and reasonable changes. They are vital to ensuring that next generation American songwriters are able to make a living creating the music we all love. We look forward to working with policymakers to reform the broader regulatory framework, including ASCAP’s outdated consent decree with the DOJ, so that music licensing better reflects the way people listen to music today.”


The following link providing greater information on the pending legislation has been forwarded by Professor David Sanders, Director of the National Music Council of the United States, and also my colleague at Montclair State University: “Ask Congress to #StandWithSongwriters.”



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