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PUB ORGS UP IN ARMS OVER APPEALS OF CRB RATE HIKE

Amazon and Spotify’s decision to simultaneously file notices of appeal of the recent Copyright Royalty Board ruling raising songwriters’ rates for streaming and other mechanical uses by 44% drew a swift rebuke from the NMPA and the NSAI.

Google and Pandora also filed notices on 3/7, though they weren't named by the orgs in their joint response.  

The rate increase came after a lengthy trial where the NMPA and NSAI faced tech giants Google, Apple, Amazon, Spotify and Pandora. This huge victory for songwriters is now in jeopardy due to the streaming services’ filing.

“When the Music Modernization Act became law, there was hope it signaled a new day of improved relations between digital music services and songwriters,” reads the statement from NMPA chief David Israelite. “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 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,” he pointed out. “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.”

Israelite put teeth in his argument by describing the filers as “big tech bullies [who] do not respect or value the songwriters who make their businesses possible.” He then thanked Apple Music for “accepting the CRB decision and continuing its practice of being a friend to songwriters.”

For his part, NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison pointed out that “Many songwriters have found it difficult to stay in the profession in the era of streaming music. You cannot feed a family when you earn hundreds of dollars for millions of streams.

“Spotify specifically continues to try and depress royalties to songwriters around the globe, as illustrated by their recent moves in India,” he continued. “Trying to work together as partners toward a robust future in the digital-music era is difficult when any streaming company fails to recognize the value of a songwriter’s contribution to their business.”

The NMPA said it would respond by filing its own notice of appeal.

 

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