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Ellen Shipley / Blog

Spotify and Other Streaming Music Websites Don't Pay!

I wish the news was different concerning the ever present, ongoing, rapidly accelerating, demise of the ability of songwriters to get paid for their work...It is very troubling to me when I see people on FaceBook (some of whom are musicians, themselves) post about how they are listening to music on Spotify...Spotify is one of the worst of the music streaming sites in terms of not paying songwriters when their songs are streamed....The money Spotify claims that they are paying the songwriters, is NOT true..The money that belongs to US goes directly to the Record Labels and the PRS' ---the songwriter will only see pennies after everyone takes their share of fees (which they do nothing for) FIRST. The law states that SPOTIFY is supposed to pay the songwriters FIRST OFF THE TOP OF THE REVENUE THEY TAKE IN. Because of the deal SPOTIFY has with the Record Labels, the money does NOT go to us, but to the labels first! I have heard that "Heaven Is A Place On Earth" has been streamed on SPOTIFY so many times, that I should have seen major money by now. I HAVE GOTTEN PAID NOTHING! As far as Pandora goes, I received about $41.00 for over 2,000,000 streams of "Heaven Is A Place On Earth"...YouTube, Rhapsody, and all the other sites are just as bad....What is really troubling to me is WHY no one cares enough to stop enabling these sites from taking artists money; why people continue to support piracy sites where they can get MY songs for nothing which is illegal, immoral, and unethical and completely selfish...Do you know people will spend tons of money on devices that help them hear "music"better on their mobile devices, BUT will not spend 99 cents to buy the songs and do the right thing so artists, songwriters can earn an income. I encourage everyone to PLEASE educate themselves about what is going to happen to songwriters everywhere if they cannot earn an income...We are the very foundation of why the world loves music--we create that music, those songs, that history of music...without us, where will the music come from? PLEASE, educate yourselves as to what is happening before it's too late...

Songs and Co-writers and That Mess of Credit!

Many of these favorite songs of mine were co-written with brilliant songwriters. I believe that when you are in a room or studio with another writer and suddenly, there it is--lyrics, music, both, (if you are lucky) start to come through the Universe because both of you are trading an energy with each other that together gives birth to an even greater creation..Be humble and remember--If you don't want to write with someone else, stay alone and see where you go..but if you open yourself to someone else's creativity..that is magic and that is partnership. Young artists can get confused as to the definition of what constitutes a co-write or a three way split,etc as opposed to a "friend or producer or publisher, or manager or another writer offering up melodies, lyrics, titles, etc. etc. Here is how I feel about that..First, be careful what you ask for...be very careful how you set up your relationships with others in your career life--BE HONEST and BE HUMBLE! If you play your song for anyone and its not finished and you say you are stuck, well--that's an invitation if its another person who is helping you on your project or song. IF you look like you need help, you will get it and then you have a partner--whether they give you ten lines, great title, change melodies where you were stuck--you have invited in another person to work with you on your song...Be HUMBLE--you would never have gotten the song that you wind up with, without that person's contribution. If you don't want to wind up working on your song with someone who walked into the studio room with a big mouth, or listened to you play your song and started offering suggestions when you asked for NONE, then TELL THEM NO THANKS..politely, you are working on it yourself...Know yourself well--my motto was NEVER play a demo or an unfinished song for ANYONE without stating your intentions FIRST..I will say that with my main partner for years, we were successful in that area as we both believed in the importance and quality NOT quantity of each persons contribution on a song. I have sat in a room with a well-know artist who contributed absolutely nothing and I gave credit to tthat artist and I never did it again! I know Producers who have rewritten artists choruses for them who NEVER asked for credit--they felt that the song was the artists and they were there as a Producer to make suggestions if the artist wanted them---I married that guy! And....I have given credit to someone who played a hook on his instrument that thn sparked me into writing an entire song...If I hadn't heard the hook and used it, who knows if the song would have been written. And someone gave me a line for a big hit song that we used who never asked for anything and figured we would do the same which I have done repeatedly i my career. However, show respect...If you are working with someone and they keep throwing out suggestions you WANT and are in need of--well, that's their JOB--to write songs --so don't take advantage, either. Me? If five names are on a track and I am asked to write the lyrics and melody then I'm half writer---I don't care how many other people contributed to a track--if they have no lyrics and no melodies, they have no song....Its always best to be kind, respectlful, grateful, open, but never play your music for anyone unless you say whether the door of creativity is open or closed! That's my thought for today! Bye an bless you all!

Songs

I have written many songs over the last 36 years...The songs I am sharing here, represent some of my favorite work. Whether the songs were from my early albums, demos of unrecorded songs, or hit songs for different artists, they all come from my most inspired places from the heart and soul---I hope you enjoy them. I continue to write and will get a new EP out as soon as I finish recording! Thanks for listening

SONGWRITERS RIGHTS

I AM PASSIONATE ABOUT SONGWRITERS BEING PAID FOR THEIR WORKS THROUGH ROYALTIES FROM PUBLISHING COMPANIES, THE INTERNET, RECORD LABELS, AND EVERY OTHER SOURCE WHERE OUR SONGS ARE USED.

THE IDEA OF FREE MUSIC FOR EVERYONE IS DANGEROUS, ELITIST AND HAS ALREADY DESTROYED THE IDEA OF THE SONGWRITER AS A PROFESSION.

I HOPE TO CREATE SOME DIALOGUE HERE ABOUT WHAT WE CAN DO AND WHY WE ARE SO DISRESPECTED IN THE MUSIC INDUSTRY.

I HAVE BEEN FORTUNATELY, A SUCCESSFUL PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITER/ARTIST FOR MANY YEARS. THE REWARDS FOR CREATING SONGS FOR PEOPLE HAVE BEEN EVERYTHING FROM GRAMMY NOMINATIONS TO BEAUTIFUL FAN LETTERS FROM PEOPLE TO SEEING THOUSANDS SING MY SONGS AT A CONCERT AND THE MOST OF ALL, IT HAS BEEN THE PROCESS ITSELF.

HOWEVER, THE PRICE HAS BEEN HEAVY AND ILLEGAL AND SLEEZY AND I THINK THAT WE NEED TO ADDRESS WHY WE GIVE UP OUR INTEGRITY FOR A COVER OF A SONG OR FOR THE CHANCE TO PERFORM SOMEWHERE

WE HAVE TO STAND TOGETHER AS A UNITED, STRONG, COURAGEOUS, NO MORE BULL-SHIT FROM THE POWERS THAT BE CONTROLLING OUR MONEY, OT THE ELITIST, ARROGANT PROPONENTS OF GIVING AWAY OUR SONGS FOR FREE.

WE NEED TO STOP STABBING EACH OTHER IN THE BACK---SAY NO WHEN SOMEONE WANTS YOUR PUBLISHING OR WRITERS CREDIT FOR YOUR SONG THAT THEY DID NOT WRITE---DON'T GET INTIMIDATED BY MANAGERS, LAWYERS, PUBLISHERS URGING YOU TO GIVE AWAY YOUR PUBLISHING AS IF IT'S AN ACCEPTABLE ACT ALL SONGWRITERS MUST ADHERE TO

I HAVE SAID NO TO LOTS OF MONEY, TO WORKING WITH PEOPLE WHO ARE UNSCRUPULOUS , TO LEAVING BIG MANAGERS WHO ONLY WANTED MY PIECES OF MY PUBLISHING ADVANCE, TO GIVING AWAY PUBLISHING TO ARTISTS SINGING MY SONGS, TO NEVER SELLING OUT MY PARTNERS, TO FIGHTING FOR WHAT I AM OWED FINANCIALLY, TO NEVER UNERCUT ANOTHER WRITER FOR A COVER, TO BE A PAIN IN THE ASS CONSISTENLY PUSHING AND FIGHTING FOR OUR RIGHTS TO PURSUE A LIVING WAGE AS PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITERS.

WE ARE THE ONLY CREATIVE PROFESSION TO NOT HAVE A UNION!!!!!

WHY BECAUSE WE ARE SO FEARFUL OF PISSING OFF THE POWERS THT BE AND THEN NOT GETTING CUTS OR NOT GETTING ARTIST DEALS, OR CONCERTS, ETC. WE OPERATE FROM A PLACE OF 'ISN'T IT GOOD THAT THOSE WHO OPERATE THE INDUSTRIAL MUSIC MAING CORPORATE BUSINESS ALLOW US TGO WRITE AND PERFORM." WHAT IS THAT MENTALITY??

THEY ONLY EXIST BECAUSE WE DO!!!!!

TAKE BACK YOUR RIGHT TO BE AN ARTIST AND GET PAID WITH MONEY, RESPECT, APPRECIATION, EQUALITY, DIGNITY AND GRACIOUSNESS!

Tom Fairnie
Tom Fairnie  (about 5 years ago)

Hi Ellen
I agree wholeheartedly with the sentiment in your comment. I'm not a known songwriter and I've only ever had songs covered by local performers; friends basically. However, I am confident in my ability to write a good, well crafted song. I love songwriting and I love collaborating, especially with my good friend and fellow poet, Bob Shields. We don't do it for the money; all it has ever done is cost us money and I am knee deep in debt trying to produce two CDs of, what I think are, well written songs. There is this constant, nagging fear that they are going to ripped off or end up on some website that doesn't pay a penny to the writers or performers. Bob and I both do this because we love it and because we can't not do it but neither one of us wants to be a businessman. The web has meant we don't need a fat guy wth a cigar to tell us we've written a good song and to give us permission to publish it but it has also created the notion that music is free and that this is one form of creative art that can simply be stolen. I always ask people to understand how important music is in their lives and how illogical it is that in another sense they should think it worthless. I have personal friends that have written wonderful songs and none of us should be being exploited. I could obviously go on but I need to go to bed; it's well past midnight and I need to be up at six thirty for work...unfortunately not songwriting! All good things. Tom