Give songwriters Apple and Spotify shares, says industry boss

iPhone 12 showing Apple Music with a sculpture in the background
iPhone 12 showing Apple Music with a sculpture in the background (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • One industry boss has suggested platforms like Spotify and Apple Music should offer songwriters shares in their companies as compensation.
  • Josh Gruss of Round Hill says grievances and disparity of income could be better addressed if interests were more closely aligned.

A music industry boss has proposed giving shares of streaming companies like Apple and Spotify to songwriters to help address income disparity in the industry.

From The Telegraph:

Streaming platforms should offer shares to songwriters to address concerns about a mismatch in earnings across the industry, according to a music investment fund boss. Round Hill chief executive Josh Gruss said anger over the disparity between huge revenues for Spotify and Apple Music compared with incomes for many songwriters could be addressed if their interests were more closely aligned.

Gruss said that the platforms were "mandated with creating value for their shareholders", so the platforms would have to convince shareholders that such a move would, in the long run, improve a company's relationship with artists, reduce criticism and ultimately help the share price:

"They would have to be convinced by something like that, but it would go a long way to having them on the same page and aligning their interests together."

Record labels and songwriters are clamoring for a better and fairer distribution of streaming revenues and royalties. From the report regarding UK artists:

Spotify reportedly pays a songwriter an average of 0.04p per stream, meaning it would take 175,000 streams for one to earn £70. A study by the Ivors Academy and the Musicians' Union found that about 80pc of songwriters earn less than £200 a year from streaming. American songwriters were given a lift in 2018 when the government-backed Copyright Royalty Board ruled they were entitled to a 44pc increase in royalties. However, the decision to increase the rate from 10.5pc to 15.1pc has been fiercely contested in the courts by Spotify, Amazon Music, and Pandora.

Gruss further noted how Apple and Spotify have "humongous" lobbying efforts, and that professional songwriters were hamstrung by not being able to go on tour like artists can stating "There's nothing really else for a songwriter to fall back on – and that is where I think the inequity is."

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9