With four major streaming services appealing a 2018 ruling from the Copyright Royalty Board that would increase publishers’ and songwriters’ revenue, the plight of the songwriter has been thrust into the spotlight. Kip Moore has not only been watching the music industry’s treatment of the songwriter, but also acting. In a new episode of the podcast And the Writer Is…, the country singer offers his own partial solution to host and fellow songwriter Ross Golan: Moore pays bonuses to the writers whose songs appear on his albums.
It’s an especially important practice, he says, as the single becomes more coveted and album tracks are minimized.
“There’s no money with album cuts anymore, so the only thing anybody is thinking in the [writing] room is single, single, single,” he tells Golan, detailing the compensation plan he uses with songwriters.
“If you’re a writer on my record and you didn’t get a single, and you get two [thousand] from me, and you’re also a writer on Rihanna’s record and she gives you two or three, and Tim McGraw gives you two or three, all of a sudden you look up and you got 10,000 extra dollars in your account. Then if everybody’s doing that, the writers are going to go in the room and be able to breathe a little more and they’re going to be thinking about writing a good song.”
According to Moore, the brass ring for songwriters in country music today, however unfortunate, is booking a writing session with the artist themselves. And even then they have to split the pie with the artist they’re helping make a star.
“It used to be like me and you, if we’re songwriters, we get in a room and we write a song. If it’s great, it’s got a good chance of somebody picking it up. That shit’s over, man,” Moore says. “If you’re not in a room with an artist…and half of these freaking artists, this is just the truth, they can’t write. They don’t know the craft of writing. But their publishing company…everybody wants to get their hands on the money. It’s a money grab. [They] gotta put the artist in the room with the writers, even though the artist can’t write a lick. They’re just sitting there, and they get a third of the writing portion.”
Along with discussing how to create a living wage for writers with Golan, Moore also talks about his cover-band days in Georgia, why he moved to Hawaii before he became a songwriter and the lost album he recorded and may one day release.