Over 2,000 songwriters and artists have signed an open letter to all record labels, calling for writers to be paid a minimum daily allowance 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 is part of a #PaySongwriters campaign from The Ivors Academy, which has been backed by independent labels Nvak Collective and Cooking Vinyl, independent music company The Other Songs, the Music Producers Guild, Songwriters of North America (SONA) and The 100 Percenters -who campaign for the creative community.
Songwriters that have signed the letter since the campaign was launched at the end of March include Autumn Rowe (who has written for Dua Lipa, Kylie and The Saturdays), Jimmy Napes (Sam Smith, Madonna, Stormzy and Taylor Swift) and Ivor Novello Award winner for Songwriter of the Year Steve Mac (Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Westlife and Calvin Harris).
Talking about her work nurturing artists, Autumn Rowe said:
“I’m at the point where I rather not write at all then take a session for an artist without a sound yet and no real plan of action. Too often it’s normalized that writers are supposed to write for free with an artist because something might happen a couple years down the line. I can’t continue to pay to develop other people’s brands which I have no personal stake in.
“I want to stress there are zero harsh feelings against any of the artists I’ve worked with. I love them all in a special way and would gladly work with them again. This is more of just how the system functions and how overlooked songwriters are many times. We deserve so much more than we get. All of us do.”
The letter is from Helienne Lindvall, Chair of The Ivors Academy Songwriter Committee, and 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.
It comes as 156 British music legends including Annie Lennox OBE, Paul McCartney and Kate Bush CBE have written to the Prime Minister to reform streaming and “put the value of music back where it belongs – in the hands of music makers.” In the US, a group of top-level songwriters, The Pact, have called for an end to artists demanding songwriting credits on tracks that they have not co-written.