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Hit Songwriters are Driving Uber to Make Ends Meet Amid Pandemic

Uber

*Some of the UK’s biggest songwriters have had to turn to driving for ride-sharing companies to make ends meet.  

“The most successful songwriters in the world can’t pay their rent,” said Fiona Bevan, who has written songs for Kylie Minogue, One Direction, Steps and Lewis Capaldi. “Right now, hit songwriters are driving Ubers. It’s quite shameful.”

At the core of the issue, it seems, is the lack of revenue coming in for music streams. U.S. musician and record producer Nile Rodgers stated as much during a hearing with British lawmakers earlier this month. 

Here’s more from the BBC

MPs heard from musicians including Chic’s Nile Rodgers and saxophonist Soweto Kinch, as well as music managers Maria Forte and Kwame Kwaten. Rodgers said he hadn’t looked into his streaming income before the Covid-19 pandemic “because my tour revenue has been so substantial that I could support my entire organisation”.

After looking into the figures this year, he was “completely shocked.”

READ MORE: Major Artist Teams Up with President of Y.M.M.G. / Photos

SINGER/SONGWRITER
Nile Rodgers/Twitter

“We don’t even know what a stream is worth,” said the musician, adding that “there’s no way you can find out,” because of non-disclosure agreements between record labels and the streaming services. “We must have transparency,” he told the committee.

“I look at the record labels as my partners. And the interesting thing is that every single time I’ve audited my partners, I find money. Every single time.

“And sometimes, it’s staggering, the amount of money.”

Rodgers believes the industry needs to change the way streaming payments are calculated.

“Labels have unilaterally decided that a stream is considered a sale because it maximises their profits,” he said. “Artists and songwriters need to update clauses in their contracts to reflect the true nature of how their songs are being consumed – which is via a licence. It is something that people are borrowing from [the streaming services]”.

“This can now be a great paradigm shift for songwriters and artists all over the world,” he said.

Roders credits include Chic’s “Le Freak,” Madonna’s “Like A Virgin” and David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance.”

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