America’s National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) is looking to get 50 websites to either remove music lyrics that are being illegally hosted or to pay licensing fees.
The association claims that five million people go to Google every day searching for song lyrics. Yes, per day. Very many end up on sites that are hosting lyrics without permission.
This might seem banal at some level. But look at those figures. One of the sites alone gets 12 million unique visitors per month and is earning colossal sums on advertising. None of that goes back to the songwriters.
Although the sites are being threatened with take-down notices, in reality what will most likely happen is that they will comply with the idea of finally paying licences to use the lyrics. Until now, they have been generating huge profits on what was – for them – a free source. It’s unlikely, notably, that they will start charging visitors for access to the lyrics. Sites such as Rap genius that offer more than just a cut’n’paste version of the lyrics (some of them pretty inaccurate).
Songwriters sell T-shirts
This is just another illustration of how songwriters have been getting a raw deal for years and at every level. We are constantly being told to look at new business models (the selling T-shirts option) while people are still creaming off large sums of money on the old one using our material!