You hear your favorite song on the radio by an artist without a second thought on how it was born. A songwriter has a skill, a craft but most of all a gift to bring such hits to the forefront without as much notoriety as the artist who performs them. The brotherhood of a songwriter is a strong bond that is being broken apart by those in the industry who believe they are already awarded their fair share of royalties. The industry has changed but the struggle is still real for those who put their craft out there for all to hear and The Ghost Town Troubadours are taking a stand inviting their brotherhood to join them.
The story of the Ghost Town Troubadours is comprised of four gifted singer songwriters, Aaron Benward, (Half of Country duo Blue County), Travis Howard, (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Famous in a Small Town), Danny Myrick, (International Harvester, She’s Country, I Love This Life) and Regie Hamm, (The Time of My Life) who bring different musical styles and backgrounds to the table. They set out on a mission to bring awareness to the present day state of the American songwriter. Starting their journey in Nashville and ending in California brought challenges, insight and an even stronger realization that their fight is far from over.
Many fans are not aware of the workings of the music industry but after meeting songwriters over the last couple of years, which included the above mentioned, I see a broader picture of their talent, hard work and lack of proper recognition. This is their livelihood, and they should get compensated accordingly. To put things in perspective songwriter Maureen McDonald explains it:
“In recent years, technology and innovation have changed the music industry in many good ways. While the listeners, the technology companies, and record labels have benefited from the growth of streaming music companies, those changes have negatively impacted the livelihood of songwriters. The antiquated laws, or consent decrees, that have traditionally regulated songwriting royalties for radio play and other uses of music does not address streaming music. As a result, the royalties paid to the songwriters for streaming are miniscule compared to those paid for commercial radio.”
“In a devastating blow to songwriters, the Department of Justice (DOJ) ruled that they will not review or update the consent decrees, ignoring the voices of copyright experts, members of congress, and thousands of songwriters like me. Those of us who write the music are held hostage by these antiquated consent decrees that make it impossible for us to be paid fairly in today’s world of streaming services that pay us almost nothing. All we asked for were reasonable updates to those consent decrees so we could negotiate fair rates.” To see more of Maureen’s article click here
This has been the best article I have seen where we as fans can clearly understand why the fight is warranted to compensate those who bring us those hits. Bottom line in many cases: No songwriters, no songs, leaving it to the artist themselves to come up with their own songs which some are not prone to do. Another good insight into this is a great article by Matt Boone here
Why you may wonder is this important? If you have that love for music it is valuable to know that songs do not just fall out of the sky and become hits. Someone has put their heart and soul into it for the love of what they do, they want to share their gift with others to see it nurtured, grow and take on a life of its own. It may not be a 9 to 5 job but it is a livelihood none the less.
Take the time to get to know the Ghost Town Troubadours here and follow their journey as they bring it to fruition in an upcoming documentary by Shawn Silva known for his video work with Kenny Chesney. Learn to appreciate the gift they have been given and know their fight is your fight as well.