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BASCA offers support to Taylor Swift, switches debate to publisher/label royalty split

By | Published on Friday 14 November 2014


The British Academy Of Songwriters, Composers And Authors has issued a statement offering its support for Taylor Swift in her decision to pull her catalogue off Spotify. Though the statement really addresses songwriter concerns that record labels (and their recording artists) receive such a large cut of digital royalties compared to songwriters and their publishers, something raised in that recent CIAM report and which is likely to be ever more loudly debated in the next year or so.

Gary Osborne, who chairs BASCA’s Ivor Novello Awards, said of streaming royalties: “No matter how bad it is for the artists it’s a whole lot worse for the writers! People don’t understand the difference between the writer and the act, but artists receive a far higher income from streaming than the people who write the songs. This is because deals were done first with the record labels that represent the artists, after which a few scraps seem to have been tossed to the songwriters and their publishers as an afterthought”.

BASCA Chairman Simon Darlow added: “The Fair Trade Music study just published by North American and Canadian composer organisations reveals that the label/ publisher split is, on average, around 95/5 in the label’s favour – this cannot be justified”.

And BASCA’s CEO Vick Bain followed on: “BASCA totally supports the principle that authors should have control over the distribution of their music. The rates received by composers from the streaming services – especially YouTube – are so dismal that very few of the people who create the incredible songs that drive and support the music industry can make a decent living in the digital environment”.

So, there you go, YouTube actually got namechecked, and Taylor Swift’s music is on there.