Songwriters big payday?

JAMAICAN songwriters could cash in on a July 1 decision by the American Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) to increase the headline rate paid to songwriters from on-demand streaming services between the years 2018 and 2022.

Music executive Cara Vickers hailed the development as "great news".

"This is good news. It has been in the discussion for sometime among the powers that be where music is concerned. Local acts should take heed 'cause, as it stands now, producers are winning more than the artiste," Cara Vickers told the Jamaica Observer.

"The producers have big cars, and the songwriters and artistes are not doing as well — and they are really writing their own material. We need to understand how valuable a songwriter is — they should be able to collect dividends in all seven streams of income, right across the board. There needs to be an adjustment — streaming, licensing, publishing, live shows — it needs to be looked at," she said.

Mikie Bennett

Other streams of income for musicians include digital music and downloads, and physical merchandise.

Vickers — who has held artistes and repertoire (A&R) jobs with several overseas labels over the years — believes that songwriters are more valuable to the process than producers when it comes to the actual business of music.

"There are other areas that need to re-evaluate how artistes and songwriters are seen. No songwriters, no songs. No songs, no music," Vickers reasoned.

According to Business Wire, the global online music-streaming market size was valued at US$12,831.2 million in 2019, and is estimated to reach US$24,711.3 million by 2027, registering a compound annual growth rate of 9.8 per cent from 2021 to 2027.

Songwriter and producer Mikie Bennett hailed the decision.

"As a songwriter I'm happy to hear this but I am so out of touch; I can't speak with any specificity," said Bennett, who said he was rushing back into a recording session.

Bennett has one of the most solid reputations in the business. He penned the classic Mek the Christmas Ketch You In A Good Mood, as well as co-wrote and produced House Call and Mr Loverman, by Shabba Ranks.

In January 2018 songwriters enjoyed a major victory when the CRB ruled that songwriter/publisher royalty rates for streaming and other mechanical uses were to rise significantly in the US. The decision was appealed by the US-based Digital Media Association (DiMA), but it was upheld.

— Jamaica Observer's Entertainment Desk

Jamaica Observer’s Entertainment Desk

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