Southern Gospel: Forget The Songwriter, Who Needs Them…

I mentioned last week a conversation I had with a friend who has been around the Southern Gospel industry about as long as I have.  It sparked several discussions that translate well to blog posts.

One topic of discussion was the lack of respect, in general, songwriters have received from Southern Gospel artists/industry.  I remember a time when some artists within the industry weren’t paying the required royalties to songwriters, after recording a song by that specific writer.

The artists were more concerned about making money off the songwriter, by selling product, without making sure the songwriter was compensated.

The practice of songwriter disrespect continues today (across the entire music industry); in this age of digital download/streaming of music.  It is abysmal that songwriter(s)/publishers only receive 10% of the royalties generated through song streaming services.  Record labels made sure they would keep the lion’s share (60%) of royalties collected off streaming services.  Shameful!

Oddly enough, terrestrial radio is still the best source of income for songwriter(s)/publishers in that 100% of royalties generated go to them.  That is one reason Sirius/XM satellite radio is so important for songwriter(s) in the music industry.

Maybe songwriters should go on strike to show artists/industry execs that without the song, they would be out of business.

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4 thoughts on “Southern Gospel: Forget The Songwriter, Who Needs Them…

  1. Your writing of this article is ironic Steve. The songwriter, in all forms of music, have been kicked to the curb. Something has to be done, Tomorrow I am headed to Washington DC w/ Peter Frampton and several other songwriters to attend an ASCAP event, then on Wednesday attending “Stand with Songwriters” Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, where the songwriters will meet with legislators to discuss challenges facing songwriters in the digital music age and, urge policymakers to update the outdated federal regulations that govern how songwriters license their work.

  2. I agree Steve. There have been plenty of times I have politely refused to make a copy of a CD or even a single song for another person because of copyright infringement. But it does seem that the record labels have always held way too much power over the artists and songwriters, from the little bit about it I know personally. With the great songwriting of Dottie Rambo, the greater part of her catalog has never been made available on CD, mp3, or even livestream because of the ineptness or lack of caring of those who held rights to the masters, if they even still exist! It is a dirty shame and I hope more equitable means of compensation and decision-making for the music of the future will do a better job than what was often done in the past.

  3. When people like Gaither align themselves with Universal Music Group distribution, UMG is the one making a killing. Or when Daywind makes a deal with Sony to distribute their album artists like Nelons, Karen Peck & New River. Sony hits the lotto with raking in the money and artists and songwriters get next to nothing.

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