Skip to main content

The Chainsmokers’ “Closer” Songwriter on Streaming: “People Writing the Music Are Getting Screwed”

"For some reason, streaming platforms aren’t supporting songwriters."
songwriting-streaming-screwed.jpg

Over the past 19 months, The Chainsmokers' hit single "Closer," featuring New Jersey singer-songwriter Halsey, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, earned 7x Platinum certification by the RIAA and on Spotify alone has racked up 1.2 billion streams.

While the song's success on streaming platforms has meant a big payday for the production duo, their guest artist, and the record label—in this case, Disruptor and Columbia—the songwriters behind the record can't say the same thing.

On Thursday, in a series of early morning tweets, Canadian DJ, producer and songwriter Shaun Frank—one of six co-writers on "Closer"—revealed the royalty disparity between the artist/label and songwriters.

Based on the accounting table in his opening tweet, as well as the 1.2 billion streams "Closer" has generated on Spotify since its July 2016 release, Shaun and his five co-writers have, to date, each earned $100,000 from Spotify in streaming royalties. According to Shaun, this isn't something that can be negotiated, either. "There are no contracts for this," he later tweeted. "This is how the money is paid out when songs are streamed on the internet."

Scroll to Continue

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

Best-of-the-Week-Header--22-

5 Songs You Need to Hear: Best of the Week

Tap in with new releases from Young Dolph, Zinoleesky, Central Cee, Simi, and Lay Bankz.

am-world-top10-sept-16x9@2x--3-

10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now

Finesse2Tymes, Luh Tyler, Antha Pantha, TS Lagga, and Xhulooo are among the artists on our radar — they should be on your radar, too.

5-Albums-Header--19-

5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Tell your friends about new releases from SZA, Rot Ken, Scorey, Bree Runway, and Alkaline.

In hip-hop, more often than not, the artist is also the songwriter, which means the artist is essentially able to double dip, earning performance and songwriting income. However, if a songwriter works strictly behind-the-scenes without appearing on the song itself, which is a common practice in R&B and pop music, he or she shouldn't expect a future windfall. 

"Artists do fine. It’s the people behind writing their music that are getting screwed at the moment." —Shaun Frank

As Shaun points out in this third tweet, the imbalance in the streaming ecosystem is having an adverse effect on the quality and type of music being made. Without radio success or opportunities generated through a music synchronization license, a songwriter's long-term financial security is limited if streaming is their only major source of income. As a result, this means more songwriters will change their approach to songwriting in an effort to craft records that have a better chance to hit at radio. 

Not good.

We have reached out to Shaun for further comment on his experience.

Related

am-world-top10-sept-16x9@2x--3-

10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now

Finesse2Tymes, Luh Tyler, Antha Pantha, TS Lagga, and Xhulooo are among the artists on our radar — they should be on your radar, too.

5-Albums-Header--19-

5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Tell your friends about new releases from SZA, Rot Ken, Scorey, Bree Runway, and Alkaline.

5-Albums-Header--18-

5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Press play on new releases from Metro Boomin, The Mavins, Babyface Ray, brakence, and Tiggs Da Author.

Header--36-

Tahj Keeton Makes Beauty Through Chaos

Georgia artist Tahj Keeton gets real about his bubbling sound with Audiomack World.

am-world-top10-sept-16x9@2x--2-

10 Rappers You Should Know Right Now

Get familiar with FNF Chop, skaiwater, BabyDrill, 21 Lil Harold, BigXthaPlug, Gloss Up, and more.

5-Albums-Header--16-

5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Press play on new albums from Wizkid, GloRilla, SleazyWorld Go, Sarkodie, and SoFaygo.