ASCAP Songwriters Josh Kear & Dan Wilson Take to Capitol Hill to Champion Fair Online Payments

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Pictured (l-r): Songwriter Josh Kear, Tenn. Rep. Marsha Blackburn, co-chair of the Congressional Songwriters Caucus, songwriter Dan Wilson and ASCAP President and Chairman of the Board Paul Williams

Taken from the press release:

Nashville, Tenn., February 27, 2013: ASCAP presented a performance and Q&A session with hit songwriters Josh Kear and Dan Wilson on Tuesday, February 26th in the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, DC, in an event to entertain and inform members of Congress and their staffs about the creative process of songwriting and the challenges facing songwriters in the digital world. The event was hosted by ASCAP President and Chairman Paul Williams. Welcoming the ASCAP songwriters to the Hill was Rep. Marsha Blackburn, co-chair of the Congressional Songwriters Caucus.

As Congress considers music licensing reform, the event was designed to highlight the fact that the contributions of songwriters and composers are being grossly undervalued in the current digital music landscape, earning 12 times less than record labels and artists for the exact same performance. The result is that songwriters are being treated unfairly and paid far too little when their music is streamed on services such as Pandora, which is seeking to even further lower the royalties they pay to songwriters and composers.

Commented Williams: “We want to educate and work with Congress to address some of the legislative constraints that have resulted in this gross inequity in payments for those who write the songs, without which there would be no music to record or stream. Congress should no longer prohibit our rate court from considering the most relevant evidence when establishing royalty rates for online streaming.”

Kear and Wilson, both multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning songwriters, performed hits they have written for major recording artists. Kear performed “Need You Now” (Lady Antebellum) and “Before He Cheats” (Carrie Underwood) and Wilson performed “Someone Like You” (Adele) and “Closing Time” (Semisonic). Along with ASCAP EVP Randy Grimmett, they also shared information about the miniscule royalties they were paid by Pandora for the millions of streams of their songs.In the U.S., Pandora pays only 4% of its revenues in royalties to those who write the songs through ASCAP and the other U.S. Performing Rights Organizations, compared to about 50% paid to record labels and artists paid through SoundExchange.Commented Wilson: “Every online music stream involves a performance of both the musical composition – written by the songwriter – and the sound recording – the performance by the recording artist. The creative contributions of both songwriter and performing artist are essential to enjoyment of the song; without either one, the music doesn’t exist.”Kear added: “As songwriters, we need to ensure that Congress hears our side of the story as they review how digital music royalties are paid. The way it works now, songwriters are being forced to become unwitting investors in unsustainable businesses that undervalue our music. We’d love to see streaming services truly succeed in a way that is designed to fairly compensate music creators.”About Josh Kear
One of Nashville’s most versatile songwriters, Josh Kear is the only songwriter to ever be awarded a Grammy for Best Country Song three times. His Grammy Awards come from writing credits on the smash hits “Before He Cheats” and “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood, as well as Lady Antebellum’s “Need You Now,” which also earned Kear the coveted Song of the Year Grammy Award in 2011. “Before He Cheats” and “Need You Now” won the ASCAP Country
Song of the Year award in 2007 and 2012, respectively. In 2012 alone, Kear had credits on an impressive six singles on the country charts – “Dancin’ Away with My Heart” by Lady Antebellum, “(Kissed You) Good Night” by Gloriana, “Drunk On You” by Luke Bryan, “Blown Away” by Carrie Underwood, “True Believers” by Darius Rucker and “Two Black Cadillacs” by Carrie Underwood.

About Dan Wilson
Dan Wilson is one of today’s top songwriters, currently best-known for contributing three songs to the 2012 Grammy Award-winner for Album of the Year, 21 by Adele, most notably her smash hit “Someone Like You,” which Wilson co-wrote and produced. Other recent songwritingcollaborations can be found on Taylor Swift’s Red, The Truth About Love by P!nk, Josh Groban’s Illuminations, Get Closer by Keith Urban and the #1 country hit “Home” from Dierks Bentley’s album of the same name. Wilson first emerged as a hit songwriter in the late-‘90s with his band Semisonic, for which he wrote the hits “Closing Time” and “Secret Smile.” “Closing Time” was ubiquitous around the world and remains a familiar and recurrent radio presence in many countries to this day. At present, Wilson is known in music circles as a songwriting collaborator with few peers. His co-songwriting practice achieved a memorable high-water mark on the Dixie Chicks’ album Taking the Long Way. He and the country/bluegrass trio co-wrote six of the songs on that album, and won the 2007 Song of the Year Grammy Award for their anthem “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP’s mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. ASCAP members write the world’s best-loved music and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business – from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly. With over 450,000 members representing more than 8.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers, and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members.


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