With recent Facebook deals netting labels and publishers tens of millions of dollars, and next months Spotify IPO creating a windfall of tens millions more, songwriters are demanding their fair share with the Brits leading the charge.
That hashtag is the battle cry for a campaign launched this week by the The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers & Authors (BASCA).
BASCA wants to make sure that music publishers reward songwriters by following the lead of major labels who recently pledged to share in any financial benefits from Spotify’s forthcoming direct listing with their artists and associated indie labels.
Similar calls are being made for music publishers to equitably share Facebook licence advances with the writers they represent. A decade after its launch Facebook has recently concluded licensing agreements with the major music publishing companies and those deals involve lump sum advance payments worth millions.
So far, details of the commitments by the major labels have been vague, and no pledge has been made by major music publishers.
Another ongoing issue is that Facebook currently has no systems to identify the music used on their platform retrospectively. So, BASCA is also seeking assurances from music publishers that have concluded deals with Facebook that any so-called ‘unattributable’ income derived from these deals is distributed equitably and transparently with songwriters and composers.
In addition, BASCA is demanding that sufficient efforts are made to establish correct usage and not just to distribute monies via an ‘assumed' market share analogy.
"an obligation and a duty to safeguard the future sustainability of our industry"
“Facebook and other user generated content platforms, as well as digital services such as Spotify have benefited incalculably from exploiting our members work and indeed this has allowed them to become among the world’s wealthiest corporations," said Vick Bain, CEO of BASCA. "They, and the publishers who license music to them, have an obligation and a duty to safeguard the future sustainability of our industry and to ensure that songwriters and composers are given their fair due of these potential riches.”
Expect songwriter groups in the U.S. and canada to join the campaign in the coming days.