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The Death of Music the Death of Songs The Death of the Songwriter
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 Posted: Mon Aug 12th, 2019 02:35 am
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RFMusic
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Recorded music has been sold as though it's a commodity but unlike some other commodities such as fuels and food recorded music doesn't perish. We can still hear Edison recordings.

When farmers have a bumper crop such as corn, that year's corn harvest becomes less valuable because there is a glut of it. Next year maybe the crop will be average or below average and the farmer will do OK. We composers songwriters don't have seasons so to speak. As the supply grows the demand only increases sightly, Demand is not keeping up with supply. They only people who are making decent money are the distributors and the more music there is and the more vigorously the creators promote the worse is gets for everyone. How much corn can one person eat and how many hours of music can listeners hear?

It used to be that a songwriter would sit with a guitar or at a piano with a pencil and paper or a recorder and try out ideas. The process has changed for a lot of music and lyrics.

Radio has all but abandoned the songwriter. Digital distribution is dying and monetary compensation from streaming is dismal.

Music is not being respected by the distributors. They with stream all sorts of garbage and the people who get paid they don't get paid on the merits of their art but rather on their ability to promote.

About the only person I can think of who wrote and produced great music on his own was Prince. Not even the Beatles could have done that. While many of us enjoy recording and playing different instruments there are songwriters there are some very talented songwriters who are not proficient on their instruments. Some are not good singers or cut out to work a DAW.

I have some ideas on how we can be compensated fairly for our music and if I was a millionaire with some business savvy surrounded by clever geeks I could maybe pull it off but I don't have the business chops or the people to make it happen.

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 Posted: Mon Aug 12th, 2019 07:48 am
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RainyDayMan
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The global market and distribution of songs has changed things dramatically. And I agree that it has made it more difficult for songwriters (though it has never be easy).
When you have the world's music at your fingertips, why would you listen to anything but the best? And if you have $x to spend, it will go to those very few people who are considered best (or at least most popular) in the world.

Songwriter/performers have it slightly better in that they are their own artist, and can perform live gigs in a local environment scraping money from both the ticket/entry price and songwriter fees thru their performing rights association.

If you are not a performer yourself, good luck.
The only people I know of that have had anything like commercial success as pure songwriters have been based themselves in centres like Nashville and have systematically built up their contact network over the course of years. Eventually they got someone to take up one of their songs which increased their profile and the chance of someone else taking another. But that is a long road with a lot of luck needed.

It has never been easier to publish a song, but there are now so many that (as you pointed out) it comes down to the ability to promote and market and so gain an audience. Such are the times.



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 Posted: Mon Aug 12th, 2019 09:03 pm
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RFMusic
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RainyDayMan wrote:
The global market and distribution of songs has changed things dramatically. And I agree that it has made it more difficult for songwriters (though it has never be easy).
When you have the world's music at your fingertips, why would you listen to anything but the best? And if you have $x to spend, it will go to those very few people who are considered best (or at least most popular) in the world.

Songwriter/performers have it slightly better in that they are their own artist, and can perform live gigs in a local environment scraping money from both the ticket/entry price and songwriter fees thru their performing rights association.

If you are not a performer yourself, good luck.
The only people I know of that have had anything like commercial success as pure songwriters have been based themselves in centres like Nashville and have systematically built up their contact network over the course of years. Eventually they got someone to take up one of their songs which increased their profile and the chance of someone else taking another. But that is a long road with a lot of luck needed.

It has never been easier to publish a song, but there are now so many that (as you pointed out) it comes down to the ability to promote and market and so gain an audience. Such are the times.


So many things came together to create what we have now. Technology is often a double edged sword. A lot of this started with piracy from sites like Napster and Pirate Bay. Now music if free to for the listener.

As you say, it is toughest for the non performing songwriter.

I seems that streaming is taking over.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn5znfgz7Co

Here Steven Tyler talks with Joe Rogan about the Dark Secrets of the music industry.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hn5znfgz7Co

He explains how the streaming companies have screwed Smokey Robinson and how prompters are screwing touring bands and the audiences.

I think there needs to be some sort of guild our union so that we can get fair compensation for our work product. Perhaps we should have our promotion, sales and distribution and freeze out companies like Spotify and Google play? I don't have the know how to make that happen.

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 Posted: Mon Aug 19th, 2019 02:40 am
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moptop
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I think there needs to be some sort of guild our union so that we can get fair compensation for our work product. Perhaps we should have our promotion, sales and distribution and freeze out companies like Spotify and Google play? I don't have the know how to make that happen.

RFMusic, there used to be, and I believe there still is a musicians union. Here you go, it's The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.
I know that back in the 70's any live band had to be a member or else no bars or joints would hire them. That was the norm in the St. Louis area anyway. Now most places don't seem to care about that anymore. In this are there are so few places that will host live bands anymore because they don't want to spend the money for the several different performance licenses they are required to have or they risk getting sued by ASCAP and others.

Yes, I agree that's it's not good situation for the songwriters and artists of today. Promotion, promotion, promotion, is the only thing that makes da money anymore.



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 Posted: Mon Aug 19th, 2019 08:40 am
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RFMusic
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moptop wrote:
I think there needs to be some sort of guild our union so that we can get fair compensation for our work product. Perhaps we should have our promotion, sales and distribution and freeze out companies like Spotify and Google play? I don't have the know how to make that happen.

RFMusic, there used to be, and I believe there still is a musicians union. Here you go, it's The American Federation of Musicians of the United States and Canada.
I know that back in the 70's any live band had to be a member or else no bars or joints would hire them. That was the norm in the St. Louis area anyway. Now most places don't seem to care about that anymore. In this are there are so few places that will host live bands anymore because they don't want to spend the money for the several different performance licenses they are required to have or they risk getting sued by ASCAP and others.

Yes, I agree that's it's not good situation for the songwriters and artists of today. Promotion, promotion, promotion, is the only thing that makes da money anymore.


When I was playing the club had a little ASCAP triangle on their doors. Even if they had a jukebox they had to have one and they paid a fee to ASCAP. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC still exist and they still pay royalties.

BMI and ASCAP are sleazy in that they own the Star Spangled Banner. https://www.suiter.com/the-national-anthem-and-copyright/

Greed is a vile thing.

Global sale of recorded music is less than $19 billion per year and only a tiny percentage goes to the artist.

https://www.statista.com/topics/1639/music/

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The Songwriters' Forum - by Songwriters, for Songwriters > Songwriters Lounge > General Discussion Forum > The Death of Music the Death of Songs The Death of the Songwriter
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