BASCA to Taylor Swift: You think *you’ve* got it bad?

BASCA logo canvasThe British Academy of Songwriters, Composers And Authors weighed in on Taylor Swift’s decision to remove all of her music from Spotify over concerns that the singer was not being fairly compensated for her music. BASCA voiced support for Swift’s decision, but used the situation to call attention to the disparity in royalties paid to performers compared with those given to songwriters.

“No matter how bad it is for the artists it’s a whole lot worse for the writers!” said Gary Osborne, chair of BASCA’s Ivor Novello Awards. BASCA Chairman Simon Darlow also bemoaned the current rates for publishers. “The Fair Trade Music study just published by North American and Canadian composer organizations reveals that the label/ publisher split is, on average, around 95/5 in the label’s favor,” he said. “This cannot be justified.”

Support and critique have been pouring in for Taylor Swift in equal measure after she and her label opted to quite Spotify. Most recently, CEO Daniel Ek wrote a comprehensive defense of his company and the streaming music economy.

Anna Washenko


  1. We are seeing a common reaction to a structural shift in an industry. Ignore, resist, blame, complain. This is understandable. However, the fact of the writers are getting a small slice of industry revenue is not impacted by streaming. They are using this situation to highlight a long-standing issue.

    Our perspective at XAPPmedia is that the rise in streaming services is a reaction to two changes in user behavior. As we point out in a blog post last week (http://xappmedia.com/streaming-growth-not-undermining-recording-industry/), there is a generational shift in the desire for ownership. Millennials are putting off purchasing homes, cars and all sorts of other goods in favor of renting access. Music happens to be one of those goods that has made this transition. Combine this with the convenience and personalization of Internet radio on mobile and you have a cocktail for change. Labels may be unhappy with the decline in the sale of physical music, but they seem to ignore that streaming services now account for 28% of industry revenue. And, streaming has created a very effective promotion tool for artists. The industry shouldn’t be lamenting streaming services, it should be thinking about ways to leveraging Internet radio on mobile to grow revenue.

    • Good thoughts, Brett. The postponement of ownership seems to angle into today’s announcement of Uber becoming Spotify’d — it’s really an extension of Spotify Connect (playing accessed music through Wifi speaker systems, replacing owned CDs through shelftop stereo systems) into Uber vehicles, which threaten to replace owned cars. The Access vs. Ownership trend radiates in many directions.

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