Supporters include MNEK, Amy Wadge, Ross Golan, Fred Gibson, Mikkel Eriksen of Stargate, Paloma Faith, Savan Kotecha, Jess Glynne, Natalie Hemby, Jimmy Hogarth, Liam Howe, Giorgio Moroder, Digital Farm Animals, Dan Bastille, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jin Jin, Plested, Ina Wroldsen, Tre Jean-Marie, Rick Nowels, Tiffany Red, Iain James, Dyo and Jessica Agombar.
300 writers, along with SONA (Songwriters on North America) and The 100 Percenters, have signed an open letter to all record labels calling on them to pay writers a minimum daily allowance (per diem) of £75 / $120 to each songwriter working with an artist to cover expenses and give writers at least four points on the master from the label share. The letter says that the per diem would be non-recoupable from the artist share and points should be on net revenue and shared amongst the non-performing songwriters on a record.
MNEK, artist, songwriter and producer said, “There are no songs without songwriters, lyricists and wordsmiths. To award ceremonies to the digital platforms even down to the conception of the song, the people behind the lyrics and melody are made to seem secondary. Pay songwriters for our minds and our time.”
Amy Wadge, songwriter and Grammy winner said, “It takes a village to launch a successful artist and songwriters are an essential part of the village and yet they are still at the bottom of the food chain when it comes to income. It’s time for a proper conversation and for a new precedent to be set but it has to be supported by labels and artists too. Songwriters need to be heard for what they are saying as well as what they are writing!”
Ross Golan, multi-award-winning and multi-platinum selling songwriter and producer said, “Just because the industry is the way it is, doesn’t mean the industry has to always be this way. Let’s make our community healthier and stronger.”
Tiffany Red, Grammy winning songwriter and founder of The 100 Percenters said “I’ll always be a songwriter. It’s the love of my life. I’m down to write for artists as long as they pay my songwriting fee, give me a per diem for my time, and points on the master.”
Songwriter Iain James said, “I’ve been extremely lucky in my career over the last 15 years in what I’ve achieved, but I can’t imagine trying to break through and make a name for myself in 2021 – I simply wouldn’t have been able to afford it. Like in any other creative industry, we must nurture and look after the next generation of amazingly talented people coming through and this has to start by giving songwriters a fairer share of the pie.”
Songwriters invest in artists and emerging talent by spending time in the studio providing direction, inspiration and development at their own risk and often for no return. Unlike a label, a songwriter does not have the same means to absorb these costs. Coupled with the inadequate revenues songwriters receive through streaming, the risks and rewards writers face needs to be re-balanced.
The campaign argues that providing writers with a daily allowance and additional points on the master are immediate steps that labels can take to support, and invest in, creativity.
This campaign comes as the DCMS Select Committee inquiry into the economics of streaming holds an evidence session with UK Government Ministers on Monday 22 March. Helienne Lindvall, Chair of The Ivors Academy’s Songwriter Committee said, “We know we have to fix streaming so it’s fair, transparent and sustains the careers of the people that create the music we love. Structural reform is needed now more than ever, but in the meantime there are a few quick and easy measures which could help songwriters get by until such time as reform is achieved. While labels enjoy record revenues from streaming, songwriters are struggling to pay the rent. The #PaySongwriters campaign provides simple ways for the labels to support songwriters when it’s needed most.
“We commend The Other Songs and the other labels who have joined them already in paying points to non-performing songwriters, showing that this is a fair way to reward the huge contribution songwriters make to the health of the music industry. As a community of music creators, we call on all labels to support our campaign to #PaySongwriters.”