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Spotify & Amazon Sue Copyright Royalty Board Over 44% Royalty Rate Increase For Songwriters

Posted by on March 9, 2019 at 10:39 am

Streaming royalties have long been a joke in the music world, though Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) is working on changing that.

The CRB ruled that streaming royalties for songwriters must increase by 44% over the next five years. That decision was ratified on February 5, and according to Music Business Worldwide, major companies were given 30 days to challenge the ruling. Apple Music declined, Spotify and Amazon have filed notices of appeal, and Pandora and Google are asking the CRB to "review its decision." The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has since called both Spotify and Amazon's decisions "shameful."

NMPA President & CEO David Israelite has also put the duo on blast in a recent comment.

“When the Music Modernization Act became law, there was hope it signaled a new day of improved relations between digital music services and songwriters.

“That hope was snuffed out today when Spotify and Amazon decided to sue songwriters in a shameful attempt to cut their payments by nearly one-third.

“The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) spent two years reading thousands of pages of briefs and hearing from dozens of witnesses while both sides spent tens of millions of dollars on attorneys arguing over the worth of songs to the giant technology companies who run streaming services.

“The CRB’s final determination gave songwriters only their second meaningful rate increase in 110 years. Instead of accepting the CRB’s decision which still values songs less than their fair market value, Spotify and Amazon have declared war on the songwriting community by appealing that decision.”

“No amount of insincere and hollow public relations gestures such as throwing parties or buying billboards of congratulations or naming songwriters ‘geniuses’ can hide the fact that these big tech bullies do not respect or value the songwriters who make their businesses possible.

“We thank Apple Music for accepting the CRB decision and continuing its practice of being a friend to songwriters. While Spotify and Amazon surely hope this will play out in a quiet appellate courtroom, every songwriter and every fan of music should stand up and take notice. We will fight with every available resource to protect the CRB’s decision.”

Google, Pandora and Spotify have responded in a joint statement.

“The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), in a split decision, recently issued the U.S. mechanical statutory rates in a manner that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns.

“If left to stand, the CRB’s decision harms both music licensees and copyright owners. Accordingly, we are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the decision."

Which is basically corporate speak for "well we own the copyrights, and fuck the artists."

Suicide Silence guitarist Mark Heylmun chimed in with some thoughts:

View this post on Instagram

I considered not doing this but I gotta do it… I rarely, if ever, get political on here but this is some straight BS. Google “spotify sued songwriters” and read more about this PLEASE!! I hope this doesn’t change what could have been a huge game changer for us song writers. Some of you might be like “cry me a river you make music for a living” or some of you might think to yourselves “he’s a millionaire.” which is far from the gawd damn truth. The truth is making money playing music, especially heavy music, is really hard. I’ll spare you the fine details but this royalty rise is 1 major change that needs to happen for artists to be able make a living off their art. And now these fugg’n clowns wanna sue the very ppl that make the product that they need for their platform to even exist!!?? I’m pissed cuz I pay for Spotify and I would pay more for it if need be… it’s a good service. But not anymore, I’ve canceled my premium @spotify cuz of this. If you’re a song writer or a supporter of the arts I suggest you do the same and spread the word about this Tom foolery. Peace and love y’all #spotify #boycott #amazon #songwriters #musicindustry #protest #markheylmun

A post shared by Mark Heylmun (@markheylmun) on

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