First viewing of The Last Songwriter

Garth Brooks
Garth Brooks

Garth Brooks: “If we don’t have songwriters, there’s not going to be a music business.” Photo: Steve Jurvetson/Creative Commons

Documentary film exploring how streaming adversely impacts the American songwriter, starring Garth Brooks, will premiere at the Nashville Film Festival

Documentary film starring Garth Brooks, Jason Isbell and Emmylou Harris, The Last Songwriter, will premiere at the Nashville Film Festival this week and shines a spotlight on how streaming is decimating the ability of today’s songwriter to make a living. The Last Songwriter celebrates writers such as Tom Douglas, Matraca Berg, Marcus Hummon, Tony Arata and Allen Shamblin, who have penned some of the greatest songs of the last 25 years, including I Can’t Make You Love Me and Bless The Broken Road, as well as revealing the struggles of Jamie Floyd, a young songwriter attempting to make it in today’s music industry.

As ASCAP reports, “record labels and recording artists routinely earn 12-14 times more than songwriters for the exact same stream of music.” The result, as songwriter Tom Douglas reveals in the film, is his Grammy-award winning song The House That Built Me has been streamed more than 20 million times, but has only earned him about a $1000.

Bart Herbison with the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) notes that, “as streaming becomes the new model for music consumption, we have to remember that for the songwriters, millions of streams only equals hundreds of dollars. Songwriting as a profession cannot sustain unless we make some dramatic changes in how songwriters earn royalties in the digital era.” And as Garth Brooks predicts in the documentary, “If we don’t have songwriters, there’s not going to be a music business.”

The Last Songwriter will premiere at the Nashville Film Festival on 27 April at 6pm CT, and will be followed by a panel discussion featuring many of the writers from the film. For ticket information go to and for more about the film visit

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