Such an imbalance would not happen in a free market, where real competition exists and songwriters have more control over how our music is licensed. But under the current consent decree system, songwriter compensation reflects the true value of our work less and less, even as our music is being played by more people and over more devices than ever before.
The music industry has been the posterchild for the sweeping change ushered in by the Digital Revolution. Physical media was displaced by iTunes, and iTunes, in turn, is being displaced by streaming services like Spotify.
It's only natural that music would play the whipping boy; it's an integral and ubiquitous part of modern society. Everyone can talk about it, because everyone has some knowledge of it, and nothing has been disrupted so completely as the music industry.
But the conversation has largely centered around labels and artists. So what about the actual creators of our beloved tunes? What about the songwriters?
Paul Williams offers some perspective.