Blog Post #5

When I first started writing about my topic, music consumerism, one of the questions I asked myself was, “When an artist is played on the radio, do they get paid yes or no?” In this blog post I hope finally answer this question and figure out how the radio industry operates.

According to an article by Ken Consor who wrote an article about Radio Royalties, radio airplay is considered a public performance. Public performances generate performance royalties for songwriters nor the performer. For example, the hit song “Closer” by the Chainsmokers feat Halsey which has basically taken over the radio was written by one of the members of the duo as well as other songwriters but not Halsey. Despite getting played hundreds of times on the radio, Halsey does not receive any sort of payment because she was not a songwriter. However, most of the time the performer is one of the songwriters so they would earn their share of royalties but it all depends on how much of the song they wrote. In reality, the radio is mainly used as a promotional tool to help artist gain a following and expose their music to more fans. An average hit song on the radio today can earn the songwriter/s $600–800,000 in performance royalties. For example, The Black Eyed Peas song “Boom Boom Pow” has had 6.3 million single sales and 3.15 million album sales to date which equates to $860,000 in songwriting royalties. Since the song was written by all four band members, each person has earned roughly $215,000 just off performance royalties.

After researching this question, I was really surprised at how the radio pays the musician/songwriters. An artist can have the song of the summer but if they did not participate in the actual songwriting process, they earn no royalties. I’m not sure if I agree with this method because even though the songwriter does deserve most of the credit, I do believe the performer and the producers should get at least some of the profits because they are the ones who bring the song to life. Yes, by being played the artist is gaining exposure which will lead to listeners to buy the song and in this case the artist will get some of the profit (but that all depends on their negotiations with their label). I truly find it hard to comprehend how the performer does not get paid a cent when their song is played on the radio, in my opinion they really should get something.

Another question I hoped to answer was about VEVO, “ How does an artist get paid when there music video or song is streamed on Youtube through VEVO?” Vevo is an American multinational video hosting service involving two of the biggest record companies, Universal Music Group (UMG) and Sony Music Entertainment (SME). According to AD TV, Vevo generated nearly $300 million in revenue in 2012, according to a Wall Street Journal report. After trying to find an exact number of how the artists are compensated, I was unable to find any reliable information about how the company truly operates. I hope by the end of the semester to be able to find out more information about VEVO.

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