Spotify and different streaming providers suggest ‘lowest royalty charges in historical past’ for songwriters
You might want to sit down for this one, songwriter.
Owners of music streaming services like Spotify, Apple, Amazon, Pandora and Google filed all documents with the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) this week to let them know what they think they are songwriters for the five years between 2023 and 2027 should pay.
Copyright law requires copyright judges to conduct proceedings every five years to determine the mechanical rates of fees paid by streaming services to songwriters and publishers.
The ongoing process to determine fees and conditions for making and distributing phonorecords (Phonorecords IV), also known as CRB IV, aims to set songwriter streaming license fees for 2023-2027.
David Israelite, President and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), previously called CRB IV “the most important CRB study we have ever had”.
Speaking to MBW before the submissions this week, Israelite stated that the path “has serious consequences for songwriters and music publishers”.
He added, “We will struggle to significantly increase the payment of streaming services to songwriters and we will now see with full transparency how Spotify, Amazon, Apple, YouTube and Pandora are trying to get what they are currently paying to shorten.
“Songwriters should all take note of what these giant tech companies propose – their suggestions show how much or how little they really value the creators they rely on.”
The submissions and their contents have not yet been made public, but Israelite announced today (October 14th) that “Amazon, Spotify, Apple, Pandora and Google have proposed the lowest royalties in history”.
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising, considering how they have treated songwriters over the years, including their ongoing assault on the 2018 odds win that they are still addressing four years later.”
David Israelite, NMPA
He added, “Not only are they proposing to reset rates and terms to wipe out all profits for the past 15 years, but they are actually proposing a structure that is worse than ever in the history of interactive streaming.
“It’s disappointing, but not surprising, considering how they have treated songwriters over the years, including their ongoing assault on the 2018 ratings win that they are still addressing four years later.
“The next time you see a billboard, paid ad, or token gesture from a streaming service that claims they value songwriters, remember that their actions are louder than any hollow gesture. This fight has only just begun.
MBW believes that on behalf of the music publishers and their songwriters, the NMPA has proposed a more comprehensive formula with four parts, including:
- 20% of sales; or
- 40% of what record labels and artists receive; or
- $ 1.50 per subscriber; or
- $ 0.0015 per game
Today’s news lands against the backdrop of the ongoing legal battle over CRB III between songwriters, their editors, and certain music streaming services in the United States.
To sum up, songwriters in the US achieved a huge victory in January 2018 when the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) ruled that streaming and other mechanical license fees increased to 44% in the five years between 2018 and 2022. would rise in the market.
The ruling included a significant increase in the overall percentage of revenue paid to songwriters from 10.5% to 15.1% in the five years between 2018 and 2022, which would mark the largest rate hike in the history of the CRB.
That decision was ratified in February 2019 when the CRB released final pricing and terms for songwriters.
The following month (March 2019) Spotify, Google, Amazon and Pandora (but not Apple) all opposed the verdict, which the NMPA equated to “sue songwriters”.
Spotify’s decision has been criticized by prominent music industry figures and superstar songwriters, while aSongwriters of North America advocacy group (SONA), co-founded by songwriters Kay Hanley, Michelle Lewis, and attorney Dina LaPolt, immediately condemned the move.
“The war for higher and fairer prices has many fronts, but we hope the entire music industry will band together to support our efforts in these crucial cases as they will determine the future of the streaming economy.”
David Israelite, NMPA
NMPA President and CEO David Israelite said this week prior to filing CRB IV fee setting requests with MBW, “It is extremely disappointing that we are fighting for higher rates in this process while repelling the appeal of the last raise we are making for musicians won in CRB III, currently run by some of the largest companies in the world.
“The war for higher and fairer prices has many fronts, but we hope the entire music industry will band together to support our efforts in these crucial cases as they will determine the future of the streaming economy.”Music business worldwide