Dear Beyonce...

Dear Beyonce,

I heard you were invited (again) to President Obama’s Birthday Bash. I saw the pics on social media. Was it fun? Silly question. You looked great!

I can’t imagine how it must feel to be all chummy with the Prez. And his wife. And his daughters. Omg…did you like hang in their bedrooms? Sit on their beds? Help them with their homework? What am I talking about? Malia is going to Harvard next year. I don’t think she needs any help with her homework. Did you talk about dating? Unfaithful boyfriends? Oops.

OK…enough smalltalk.

Here’s what’s on my mind: POTUS created a 2016 Summer Playlist on Spotify and posted it on The White House Facebook Page. There were some mighty fine selections on there, including a tune by one of my favorite newish artists, Courtney Barnett. I was surprised, though, that none of your songs were included. Silly POTUS. 

Listen…I love that the Prez is so into music and playlist culture. Similarly, I just compiled a playlist for my daughter to take back to college next month. Except it wasn’t linked to Spotify. I can’t go there, Bey. And I have to wonder whether our president is aware of how disenfranchising Spotify is for songwriters and recording artists. Not only are the rates unsustainable, but they offer up a freemium tier supported by ads that benefit the company who aggregated them (Spotify, Google) instead of the writer whose song they accompany. How could he not know this? Cuz I feel like he knows about pretty much everything.

You are a superstar as well as a songwriter and recording artist. Streaming rates and piracy will be the death of creators. You must know this because you made a savvy and wise decision to release your latest masterpiece Lemonade, on Tidal — a streaming service which you (co)-own — and later for purchase on Amazon and iTunes, mediums from which you still (but not for long) receive a meaningful royalty. Most creators don’t have the power or option to keep their songs off of Spotify as they don’t own (or co-own) an alternate streaming service or their master recordings.

So, here’s what I’m thinking…POTUS loves you. We know this because this is what he said at umm, a fundraiser that you and Jay-Z hosted for him:Beyoncé could not be a better role model for my girls because she carries herself with such class and poise and has so much talent.” Being that he feels this way, I just can’t imagine you couldn’t find a minute to take him aside and whisper (or holla) to him about our plight. After all, you raised 4 mill that night! Hmm. On second thought, the two of you in a corner have been known to start rumors.

And, to be fair, I suppose asking POTUS for a favor at a fundraiser that you hosted looks a little obvi. But...ahem, you coulda done it at THE BIRTHDAY BASH! Now, I realize it’s not cool to bust into a party and immediately get on a soap box. It takes the right moment. But didn’t one come? Or you coulda whispered to Michelle. You had to have had a moment with her...(in the ladies room?) And then later that night, she coulda paid it forward in the form of pillow talk. (And while you were at it, you could have asked her to inquire as to why he didn’t include one of your songs on that summer playlist.)

Don’t just go the White House and look pretty! It’s such a waste of beauty. We need you, Bey. Bey our Queen!

President Obama has formally declared that he is a passionate supporter of the arts. Well, let him to put his money where his mouth is. Why is he lending props to a service that throws songwriters and recording artists under the bus? We need help getting streaming rates up. We need help combatting piracy. We need help overturning the DoJ’s recent decision not to amend 70-year-old consent decrees and the devastating 100% licensing ruling. Puh-leez, enlighten him.

OK…these aren’t the most important issues on his plate…or rather, the gold rimmed White House china. They’re certainly not up there with terrorism and job security and healthcare. I get it. But let’s face it. The big stuff is basically out of his hands. So maybe, during this lame duck period, you could subtly hint (with all your class and poise) that he insist on some changes in the distribution of wealth for creators. Creators—the ones who give him all the music he takes pleasure in…the ones who are responsible for the art that he respects and celebrates…not so much for the Stevies or the Jay-Zs. Or for you for that matter. But for the little guy or gal who perhaps collaborate on the songs on your albums…or on the songs on the President’s playlist…the guys and gals who don’t get driven around in fancy cars or flown on private jets or get INVITED TO WHITE HOUSE BIRTHDAY PARTIES. :) C’mon Bey…you can do it.

Do it for the young women you inspire every day to be strong and outspoken–young women who may never get a chance to bey like you if they can’t even get started. Time is running out, Bey. Hurry up. Don’t wait for Obama’s next birthday party. It will be too late. 

Love, Shelly

PS…I’m not singling you out. Last year I wrote a blog/letter to Taylor and pretty soon I’m gonna hit up Adele. I’m just pacing myself.

PPS...I love Lemonade. I really do. BTW, I wrote a song with Rachel Crow that had the same Tidal. I mean title. You can’t copyright a titleo no worries. Here it is on YouTube. See that ad that previews our song? I didn’t get a penny. Neither did Rachel. 

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