I love the spirit of this arrangement by Kip Moore. You need to glance at this Billboard article first to understand why I would suggest something as crazy as I do below.
Because Nashville is mostly a team-writer town, many of these artists have a writing team or two that they prefer to write their full albums (because I don’t know what else to call 10 or more songs packaged together virtually or otherwise) with.
Here’s an example of an artist that shall remain nameless for this purpose:
Artist has a team of, let’s say, 4 people they write “album” #1 with…the album has one top ten hit and that’s it. The artist becomes a big star and tours the world making lots of money from tickets, merchandise, endorsement deals, publishing advances etc etc. The songwriters only make considerable money if the album sells close to a million whole copies and more OR if they are writers on the top ten hit single. So in this case artist is doing fine. Time and tours pass and then the artist calls the team and says, “let’s pencil in a few months and start writing album #2.” They all jump up and down like happy dogs for the UPS man’s treats and off they go. Six months to a year later album #2 comes out and there is another top ten hit single and a few that flirt with top 30 and the album creeps up to gold, which is 500,000 copies, but the artist is touring like a madman or woman while the road and various other income streams keep giving. You guessed it….”hey let’s write album #3″…. to which the songwriting team could say, “let’s do… but this time lets’ cut the 4 of us in on 1% of the merchandise haul for the length of the life of the album and the first 2 tours in support of that album”. Then you’d have some fair pay.
The devil is in the details of course but here’s one of several different possible ways this could work. If you’re a writer on “the team” and your name shows up on 60% of the total album copyright…that puts you in the merch biz, at least for a couple of years. Maybe if your name shows up on one of the hit singles there could be an extra hurdle for you to clear before you tap into the merch partnership….Like if you’re on a single that reaches top 5 then you get bumped back to a 70% threshold before you step on the tee shirt train.
Then if some of the artists don’t surprise us, they would start keeping up with which writer team member was getting close to the 60% watermark and cut them off from the writing of the record before that happens. But maybe not.
You see at the bottom of the food chain, which is also ground zero for the musical process, there is no one for the songwriter to turn to and say…”I’m not making as much money as I used to so, I’m going to take some of yours” ……like the labels did to the artists.. and then the artist did to the concert goer.
This is a win/win.