Nashville Songwriters Association International
For 40 Years : "IT ALL BEGINS WITH A SONG"
 
SONGWRITERS ARE
AMERICA'S SMALLEST SMALL BUSINESS
HOW SONGWRITERS ARE PAID
And the Federal Government’s Role

ROYALTIES:
> Mechanical Royalty — Writers receive 9.1 cents for a song that sells on an artist’s CD. However, this is usually split with the publisher, leaving the songwriter only 4.55 cents. If the song is co-written, then they receive only 2.275 cents! So, if a writer has a song on a million-selling album, they earn around $22,750.
> Performance Royalty — A songwriter is paid when his or her song is performed live or on radio, television, or cable. The average performance royalty is under $5,000 per year for those who are lucky enough to receive performance income.
> Songwriter royalties are THE ONLY INCOME STREAM in America DICTATED by the Federal Government! The rate a songwriter is paid is determined by the Copyright Royalty Board. When and how songwriter royalties are distributed is governed by Congress and the Department of Justice.
> Songwriters cannot increase their royalty income, even if the cost of doing business increases.
> A songwriter may go years without receiving royalties. If they have a hit song, the federal government says that the songwriter must receive royalties immediately after they are collected. This means a songwriter might receive most of their income from a song in one calendar year — making that income subject to a disproportionately high income-tax levy. Other creators, such as book authors, can negotiate the terms of their payments over several years for tax purposes — but NOT songwriters! Songwriters were once allowed to average their incomes. This is no longer permitted.
> Frivolous lawsuits can cost a songwriter their royalty income.

AMERICA LOSES
Two-thirds of its Professional Songwriters
> America has LOST TWO-THIRDS of its PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITERS over the past decade due to illegal downloading, piracy, radio deregulation and corporate mergers.
> Radio Deregulation has resulted in dramatically fewer spots on radio playlists. A few companies program the majority of country music reporting stations.
> Mergers and consolidations have resulted in fewer and fewer staff songwriter positions.


PIRACY FACTS
File Stealing
> MORE THAN 1 BILLION files are illegally downloaded EACH MONTH!
> Copyrights are the #1 BALANCE OF TRADE EXPORT item for the United States.
> When someone steals a song on the Internet it is not a victimless crime. Songwriters pay their rent, medical bills and children’s educational expenses with royalty income. That income has been dramatically impacted by illegal downloading, so many have reassessed their careers as songwriters. Songwriters are choosing other professions because they cannot earn a living- in great part due to illegal downloading.