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Is Streaming Killing The Songwriting Industry?

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Songwriters across the country are becoming more concerned as to the financial impacts that
streaming music has had on them. Songwriters gain very little of the total profits from
streaming songs and since many songwriters work on teams, that little bit of money gets split
up even further.

It appears that people generally care more about the artists than the songwriter, however this
was not always the case. For a long time, songwriters wrote for artists but then the Beatles
came along and flipped the script. After the Beatles, it was common for artists to write their
own songs but now, we see a shift back to the artist-songwriter relationship – with the artists
gaining all the recognition.

Despite the artists receiving all the credit and praise for specific songs, a study conducted by
Media Research found that “twice as many streaming users said a song mattered more to them
than the artist who performed it.” It would seem that while the artists gain all the recognition,
the songwriters are actually the ones who are drawing in the audience.

Famous songwriters like Abba’s Bjorn Ulvaeus are worried about this financial impact on
songwriters and believe it will have a negative impact on the quality of music that will be
produced in the coming years. Ulvaeus claims that while people will continue to make music,
the craftsmanship required to produce good songs will greatly diminish. According to an
interview with Ulvaeus by the New York Times, Ulvaeus stated “what you get is someone
writing what they think is a song. And sometimes, by accident, they write something that’s got
a hook, and it’s a hit suddenly. But the thing is, they don’t know what they’ve done… You have
to realize what a good song is. And if you can’t recognize garbage, it’s very hard to know what a
good song is.”

Unfortunately, as an average listener there is not much that we can do to attempt to prevent
this problem from growing. Changes need to be made to the model of music streaming in
order to offer greater benefit to the songwriters rather than the performing artists themselves.
All the average person can do is acknowledge and appreciate the great works of songwriters
and offer support for their continued work.

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But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?

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As an alternative theory, (and because Latin scholars do this sort of thing) someone tracked down a 1914 Latin edition of De Finibus which challenges McClintock’s 15th century claims and suggests that the dawn of lorem ipsum was as recent as the 20th century. The 1914 Loeb Classical Library Edition ran out of room on page 34 for the Latin phrase “dolorem ipsum” (sorrow in itself). Thus, the truncated phrase leaves one page dangling with “do-”, while another begins with the now ubiquitous “lorem ipsum”.

Whether a medieval typesetter chose to garble a well-known (but non-Biblical—that would have been sacrilegious) text, or whether a quirk in the 1914 Loeb Edition inspired a graphic designer, it’s admittedly an odd way for Cicero to sail into the 21st century.

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So when is it okay to use lorem ipsum? First, lorem ipsum works well for staging. It’s like the props in a furniture store—filler text makes it look like someone is home. The same WordPress template might eventually be home to a fitness blog, a photography website, or the online journal of a cupcake fanatic. Lorem ipsum helps them imagine what the lived-in website might look like.

Second, use lorem ipsum if you think the placeholder text will be too distracting. For specific projects, collaboration between copywriters and designers may be best, however, like Karen McGrane said, draft copy has a way of turning any meeting about layout decisions into a discussion about word choice. So don’t be afraid to use lorem ipsum to keep everyone focused.

One word of caution: make sure your client knows that lorem ipsum is filler text. You don’t want them wondering why you filled their website with a foreign language, and you certainly don’t want anyone prematurely publishing it.

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