Members of Congress and staffers gathered on the rooftop of 101 Constitution Avenue to witness singer-songwriters Marc Broussard and Ryan Kinder perform short acoustic sets at the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) annual D.C. event on Wednesday night. The event is part of NMPA's continued efforts to raise awareness about and hopefully affect legal change to the outdated consent decree.
Currently, that decree which was established well before the iPod hit the market, pays songwriters a fraction of a penny when their song is played on streaming services like Pandora and Spotify (currently about 0.000023 cents per stream).
Marc Broussard explained to attendees that his songwriters' income wouldn't be enough to sustain his family, requiring him to be away from them for a large portion of the year. Broussard spoke directly to the lawmakers in attendance saying, "If you guys could fix this royalty thing, that would be great."
Broussard, whose new album Easy to Love comes out today, explained after his brief set, "I do believe that the fans out there, the savvy fans, understand that their subscriber dollars are not getting into their favorite artists' hands, right? But from virtually every market in existence customers are going to choose ease of use and price over any kind of ethical arguments. So we have major challenges here."
David Israelite, President & CEO of NMPA, discussed the issue in greater detail noting, "There is an enormous amount of wealth being created from music. The problem is for songwriters - and most people would never know this - is that 75% of what a songwriter makes, the price is set by the federal government. There is no negotiation over price. The songwriter has no choice about the use of their music. We're operating under systems from a law from 1909 and consent decree from the Justice Department from 1941 and those two things today mean that when a Spotify, a Pandora or a Google, an Apple or Amazon want to use music, the songwriter's not getting a fair share of the money that's being generated. That is the number one issue."