‘All About That Bass’ Co-Writer Alleges He Only Made $5,600 From Streaming
Imagine you're a music writer. You've got a family, rent to pay, living expenses, and generally need to, you know, make some money from your trade in order to survive. Then, in a twist of fate and hard work, the song you penned blows up—this things goes multi-platinum, peaks at No. 1 on multiple global charts, becomes one of the most massive digital singles of all time, and launches your artist as one of the biggest pop stars of that year.
On Pandora alone the song is streamed 178 million times. And then your check comes. Yet somehow, you've only made $5,679.
This is what happened to Kevin Kadish, co-writer and producer of Meghan Trainor's massive 2014-2015 pop hit, "All About That Bass." On Tuesday, Kadish spoke at a congressional roundtable music copyright discussion in Nashville, using his story as both a cautionary tale and a call to action for the proposed Songwriter Equity Act, which would update sections of current American copyright law to establish a "fair rate standard" for modern mechanical licenses.
Now, if Kadish received $5,679 for 178 million streams, that means he only made roughly $31.00 per every million streams from Pandora. As dismal as these numbers are, Kadish alleges that what Pandora paid him is actually about 1/3 of what the average song payout from a streaming-service is, which he claims is typically $90.00 per million streams. (It should be noted that this, too, is an incredibly abysmal number.)
Kadish's payout also makes us wonder what his publishing percentage for "All About That Bass" is—according to these numbers, even that percentage seems as if it must be fairly low. In addition, Kadish did not mention how songwriting royalties were split between him and Trainor (who co-wrote the track with him), so it's unclear as to how much she received from streaming or how much Kadish might have received as a sole songwriter.
"For a song like 'All About That Bass,' that I wrote, which had 178 million streams... I mean $5,679? That's my share," Kadish lamented during the discussion. "That's as big a song as a songwriter can have in their career and number one in 78 countries... But you're making $5,600. How do you feed your family?"