“I don’t get your math. How come the composers are earning less than the performers?”
I don’t know that it’s a matter of whether or not composers making less than performers. It’s more a case that playing field has changed.
Frank Sinatra once said; “Records are for chumps”. I think that what he meant by that is this fact; The real money in the music business has always been in live performance rather than record sales. You look at artists that have extended careers; if you could tally it up in the end, more money would lie in the performance side than the record sale side. Obviously there are exceptions, certainly the Beatles have made more off of records than live performance. That is the exception though because, most performers, that have full length careers, continue to make their living from shows long after the record sales peak.
So, when a song gets played on, say an oldies station, the performer who is still out there playing, is going to still reap the benefit of exposure/advertising, even though the catalogue is not selling much anymore.
If you look at a songwriter’s royalty statements over a 30 year period, the mechanical’s (record sale) generally peak and decline right along with the commercial life of the record. The performance royalties continue and at some point, equal and sometimes surpass the total made from mechanicals.
I have had many record producers tell me that they were looking for a “career launching song” for their artist; meaning a song that will help continue to make the artist a viable concert draw after the sales peak.
In the case of Internet radio, artists/labels have demanded a performance royalty. This has never existed in traditional radio. The performance royalty for artists/labels on Internet radio, is the factor that often makes it impractical to operate an Internet radio website.
Now, if a domain uses music to generate traffic and all they are required to do is provide links instead of license fees, the label/artist will still reap the same benefits that they would if a song were played on the radio; over the long haul. The composer, who is going to make half or more of his money over a career, from licensing/performance will not.
“is content quality going down? I didn’t know that.”
I think that if you reduce the incentive to generate content, that the quality will go down.
Now, I have never seen “Heroes” or “Deadwood” so, I’m not qualified to comment on them.
I am, however, aware of how much of the quality of TV, over all, depends or writing. The Writers Guild strike is a dramatic example of how quality will suffer if writers feel that the incentive/compensation to write is not sufficient. Can anyone make a case that more reality shows, re-runs of late night talk shows and shooting with scripts that can’t be modified by writers, will improve the quality of content?