BBHMM: Artist Advocacy in the Digital Music Revolution
A synopsis of the below article for my Music Copyright & Business class at The Los Angeles Film School.
I must say the more I learn about Copyright and Royalties the more in shock I am by how these laws are consistently broken when it comes to paying artist. I could instantly relate and I know a lot of other artist, songwriters, producers can too. Melissa Ferrick's situation speaks to what so many artist are battling with, our right by law, to get paid for our work. As Digital streaming becomes an emerging industry, companies, publishers, labels and artists are all trying to figure out a resolution that benefits their behalf. For some reason it always seems, the last person on the totem pole is the artist.
Melissa Ferrick, the singer-songwriter involved in the Q & A session in this article, is in the process of filing a copyright infringement lawsuit against Spotify. She’s not against streaming or people who stream music, she simply wants artists to get paid what they are supposed to.
According to Melissa she hasn’t received mechanical royalties on over 100 songs. This is because Spotify has not acquired the licenses for her songs. Had they done so, she would be receiving the proper royalty payments. This unfortunately is very common. As for myself, I distribute my music digitally through CD Baby. The payment I receive per stream is usually between $.0002 -.0006, and that is across most digital streaming platforms. I’ve never understood how they came up with these numbers and I’ve always wanted to know.
As more and more artist become independent, more education and transparency in how artist get paid will be required. With artist like Melissa taking a stand against a big company like Spotify, hopefully it will encourage more artist to be aware of their revenue streams, and if they are getting paid like they should. Copyright laws can be confusing and are changing constantly. The average artist just doesn’t want to deal with it. So as a result we take whatever pennies get thrown at us and never question it. So now the question is if we don't advocate for our own artistry, who will?
Rachelle "Analog LUST" Luster is a Hip Hop Artist, Producer and Creator of Analog Dope. She holds an Associate of Science Degree in Music Production from The Los Angeles Film School in Hollywood and is currently working towards her Bachelor of Science in Entertainment Business.