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20210302Amid the boom in music streaming, John Wilson investigates the value of the songs that provide the soundtracks to our lives.

COVID lockdowns have seen a huge surge in streaming, with 155 million premium subscribers to Spotify alone, a 25% increase on the previous year. Record companies have enjoyed huge profits. But with musicians unable to play live for over a year, the iniquities of the streaming royalties system have been exposed. The people who actually create the music have realised they are getting a raw deal. Meanwhile, seasoned songwriters are queuing up to sell the publishing rights to their lyrics and compositions for huge sums. Universal recently paid a reported $300m for Bob Dylan’s songwriting catalogue.

Merck Mercuriadis, founder of the FTSE 250 company Hipgnosis, explains why he's on a multi-million dollar spending spree, buying up the rights to classic works by the likes of Neil Young, Blondie and Fleetwood Mac. John also talks to Björn Ulvaeus, one half of the ABBA songwriting team, who was recently appointed President of CISAC, the global confederation of authors’ societies and to Sir Paul McCartney, who believes younger songwriters deserve a better deal from streaming royalties. And Fiona Bevan, who co-wrote a global number one hit for One Direction, reveals how a recent song she wrote for Kylie Minogue, that has had over a million streams so far, will reap her just £100 in royalties.

The music industry has changed beyond recognition in recent years, and music seems to be more available than ever before. But in our quest to have the music we crave, are we forgetting to give back enough so that we can really saying a proper thank you for the music.

Interviewees:
Merck Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis Songs Fund
Björn Ulvaeus, songwriter
Paul McCartney, songwriter
Fiona Bevan, songwriter
Nadine Shah, songwriter
Tom Gray, songwriter, founder of Broken Record campaign
Laura Barton, music journalist
Tim Collins, CEO of Creed Media

Presented and produced by John Wilson for BBC Wales

2021030220210325 (R4)Amid the boom in music streaming, John Wilson investigates the value of the songs that provide the soundtracks to our lives.

COVID lockdowns have seen a huge surge in streaming, with 155 million premium subscribers to Spotify alone, a 25% increase on the previous year. Record companies have enjoyed huge profits. But with musicians unable to play live for over a year, the iniquities of the streaming royalties system have been exposed. The people who actually create the music have realised they are getting a raw deal. Meanwhile, seasoned songwriters are queuing up to sell the publishing rights to their lyrics and compositions for huge sums. Universal recently paid a reported $300m for Bob Dylan's songwriting catalogue.

Merck Mercuriadis, founder of the FTSE 250 company Hipgnosis, explains why he's on a multi-million dollar spending spree, buying up the rights to classic works by the likes of Neil Young, Blondie and Fleetwood Mac. John also talks to Björn Ulvaeus, one half of the ABBA songwriting team, who was recently appointed President of CISAC, the global confederation of authors' societies and to Sir Paul McCartney, who believes younger songwriters deserve a better deal from streaming royalties. And Fiona Bevan, who co-wrote a global number one hit for One Direction, reveals how a recent song she wrote for Kylie Minogue, that has had over a million streams so far, will reap her just £100 in royalties.

The music industry has changed beyond recognition in recent years, and songs are more readily available to us that ever before. But are we giving back enough to say a proper 'thank you for the music'?

Interviewees:
Merck Mercuriadis, Hipgnosis Songs Fund
Björn Ulvaeus, songwriter
Paul McCartney, songwriter
Fiona Bevan, songwriter
Nadine Shah, songwriter
Tom Gray, songwriter, founder of Broken Record campaign
Laura Barton, music journalist
Tim Collins, CEO of Creed Media
Mike Smith, Downtown Music Publishing
Anya Ryan

Presented and produced by John Wilson for BBC Wales