Today, songwriters and musicians are calling on policymakers in Washington, D.C. to make changes to music licensing laws, citing the industry's shift towards digital streaming.
The American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers (ASCAP) presented a 575,000-signature petition in an effort to get reformed the federal laws from 1941 that regulate how songwriters license their works. The signatures come from artists including Monica, Brian McKnight, Omi (of "Cheerleader" fame), Nate Ruess of .Fun, Bon Jovi, Pat Benatar, as well as writers like MoZella (who co-wrote Miley Cyrus' No.1 song "Wrecking Ball") and Priscilla Renea (who's written for Mariah Carey, Chris Brown, Rihanna and Demi Lovato).
MoZella said, "Copyright is starting to mean nothing. We've had over 250 million streams of 'Wrecking Ball' on Pandora, and I made about $3,000 on my writers' share. The industry can't survive if the hit writers are each making about $10,000 after taxes from all the big streaming services online combined. This is serious."
McKnight added to Rolling Stone, "My 'a-ha' moment was when I was told how many times my music is streamed per month and then consequently how much actual revenue I was actually receiving.”
In a statement, ASCAP President Paul Williams said, "We're asking policymakers to stand with songwriters at a time when our future livelihoods and the future of American music are both in jeopardy. Streaming has vastly changed music listening habits but licensing laws haven't kept up with the way people consume music today, so songwriters are struggling... We're asking legislators to recognize that songwriters deserve laws which enable them to be paid fairly for the use of their music."
Here's to hoping accomplished artists get their credit where it's due.