Steven Tyler pens copyright essay: “Songwriters, producers and artists can’t survive on what they are being paid”

steven tyler copyright essay donald trump

Following on from his request that Donald Trump stop playing Aerosmith’s ‘Dream On’ during his rallies, Steven Tyler has now written an open letter explaining why he did so.

Unfortunately, the Aerosmith frontman’s decision was not due to political outrage about having his music associated with Trump’s presidential campaign. It was actually down to concerns over copyright and fair usage.

In an essay published by the Huffington Post, Tyler wrote:

“This week, I sent a letter to Donald Trump’s campaign asking to not use my music at political rallies. My intent was not to make a political statement, but to make one about the rights of my fellow music creators. But I’ve been singing this song for a while now.”

He goes on to explain the purpose of and his role in the GRAMMY Creators Alliance:

“In February, I became a founding member of the GRAMMY Creators’ Alliance. The Alliance joined many big names in the music business, not for ourselves, but for the up-and-coming songwriters and artists. To bring hope. To try and change laws that are hindering the music biz. To make sure that songwriters and artists can practice their art without threat of extinction. To make sure those who practice their craft get paid fairly when others use their work.

I’m not alone in my efforts to bring change. Today, more than 1,650 musicians and songwriters will be visiting their local congress members in their home offices as part of our grassroots program, GRAMMYs in my District.”

The main thrust of Tyler’s argument is that artists, songwriters and producers deserve to be paid fairly from all music avenues, both old and new:

“Big changes are happening right now in copyright reform as a result of massive technology changes and with the way fans pay for music and consume music. These changes can be a good thing for songwriters and up-and-coming artists, if we are paid fairly by those who make money using our work. Everyone deserves to be able to pay their bills, support their families, and do the work they love. Too many can’t because we are being shortchanged by new and old technology companies.

Now, I don’t blame all the new technologies, some are really cool. You can listen to music wherever you are, make up your own playlists, and hear what you want when you want. That’s powerful, and at least they are paying creators something! The old technology companies do not pay artists; not one penny!”

Likening his action to that of Taylor Swift, Tyler states:

“Just as my record label sister, Taylor Swift, wrote her letter to Apple in June, this is my open letter to everyone. We need change. Songwriters, producers and artists can’t survive on what they are being paid.”

Read Steven Tyler’s full essay


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