Halverwege zijn verhaal haakt Mercuriadis in op dat andere grote onderwerp in de Nielsbrieven van 2021
, de ongelijke verdeling
van inkomsten uit streaming tussen artiesten, rechthebbenden, mastereigenaars en songwriters. Merck rekent voor 🧮 en priemt
daarna met de vinger:
“No one can argue that the economics of music today reflect the songwriter’s role fairly and equitably. Look at how $1 worth of Spotify or Apple income is split up. You take 30 cents off the top for Apple or Spotify etc. Can an argument be made that this 30 cents could become 25 cents, or 27 cents, or 29 cents? Of course; that argument should be made, but that’s not really what the material point is here. The material point is: what happens to the other 70 cents? Using rough numbers, you’ve got 58.5 cents going to the recording. Most artists are being paid on a sale, rather than on a license, so they’re getting about 9 cents out of that 58.5; yet the record companies are clearing 50 cents.
Then, on the other side, you’ve got 11.5 cents left for maybe four songwriters on a song and their publishers to split up. That’s ridiculous! How have we got to a point where anyone believes that it’s fair and equitable that the record company is getting 50 cents, the artist is getting 9 cents, and songwriters are getting one-and-a-half cents to two cents each?
[…] This construct only exists because the three biggest song companies in the world can’t fight for songwriters the way that they would like to, because they’re controlled by the three biggest recorded music companies. On the recorded music side, [labels] get an 80% gross margin, a 40% net margin, and in general you own those assets in perpetuity. But on the song side of the business [as a publisher] you get a fifth of the margin, a fifth of the revenue and most of the time the rights land back in the hands of the people that created them.
That’s why, in my view, Universal, Warner, and Sony are the three biggest culprits of this situation. I’m certain that [major pubco bosses] Jody Gerson, Guy Moot, and Big Jon [Platt] would love to be able to scream and shout and advocate for songwriters, and shift more of the economics of this of our business towards their divisions; because, let’s face it, they’re actually the ones out there developing the next Tayla Parx, the next Andrew Watt, the next great songwriters writing tomorrow’s hits.
Yet the massive majority of the revenue is going towards recorded music, and that’s deliberate: the [majors] push all of the revenue towards recorded music at the expense of the songwriter.”