Nile Rodgers: ‘Songwriters have always been underpaid’

Nile Rodgers

Disco legend and prolific songwriter Nile Rodgers has hit out at the industry, claiming songwriters are underpaid for the work that they do.

In a recent interview with Music Week, Nile Said: ‘Songwriters have always been underpaid for what they do, because they’re delivering the thing that keeps the business afloat.”

While outlining his action plan as the new chairman of the Songwriting Hall of Fame, Rodgers addressed issues surrounding the value of original compositions and the balance between their importance to the industry and monetary compensation.

He said: ‘I want to be able to go in and renegotiate the deals and the way that they value songs. Songs, to me, are commodities.

‘Every single composition has its own profit and loss statement and almost every one of those songs, based on the deal that you originally do, is a profitable entity if you handle it right. I want to make sure that those artists are protected.’

Rodgers, a former M Magazine cover star, was appointed as chairman of the Songwriters Hall of Fame last month in a unanimous vote after being appointed to the organisation in 2016.

He went on to say: ‘Prior to The Beatles, it was all about songwriters because the big artists had to go to them for the songs. After The Beatles, the bands and artists that were being signed were all composers, you had to be self-contained. That was the downfall of The Monkees, when people found out that they didn’t write their own songs.

‘What’s happened is that our music business has changed back to the old Tin Pan Alley formula, where songwriters are the bedrock of the community.’

Rodgers releases his first album with Chic since 1992, It’s About Time, on September 14th.