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The music industry has undergone a significant transformation in recent years, largely due to the rise of streaming services and internet radio platforms. While these platforms have made it easier than ever for listeners to access and discover new music, they have also created significant challenges for songwriters and musicians who rely on royalty payments for their livelihood.

The issue is particularly acute for songwriters, who often receive only a small fraction of the revenue generated by streaming and internet radio platforms. In fact, even top-charting songs on these platforms can yield surprisingly low royalty payments for their creators. For example, a song that receives 178 million streams on a major streaming platform might only generate $5,679 in royalties for its songwriter.

These low royalty payments have had a devastating impact on songwriters and the music industry as a whole. In Nashville, for example, the home of country music and the heart of the American songwriting industry, the number of professional songwriters has declined sharply since 2000. Some estimates suggest that the city has lost more than 80 percent of its songwriters in the past two decades, as many musicians and writers have struggled to make a living in an industry that values their work so poorly.

The impact of these trends extends far beyond Nashville, however. In cities and towns across the country, songwriters and musicians are struggling to survive in an industry that seems increasingly hostile to their interests. Some have turned to alternative revenue streams, such as touring and merchandise sales, while others have simply left the industry altogether.

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