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ROYALTY WARS HEAT UP; NSAI, SONY WEIGH IN

As the sturm and drang over the Copyright Royalty Board rate proceedings heats up, the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) sent a letter to Sony-affiliated songwriters. An accompanying statement reads:

Sony has made a proposal to the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) that will lower current and future royalties paid to American songwriters, including SME artists who compose their own songs,” said NSAI Executive Director Bart Herbison.

NSAI chose not to publicly release the names of the nearly 100 SME artists who were sent the letter.  “We do not want to pressure them publicly.  It is difficult for any artist to challenge their own record label.  But we feel confident the message will permeate and Sony Music Entertainment will be forced to explain themselves,” said Herbison.

NSAI asked SME again this morning to drop their proposal.   

For its part, Sony Music issued the following statement:

Record labels have participated in every rate proceeding for copyright royalty rates.  We think it is important to be at the table since compositions form the foundation of our recordings and some of the world’s greatest songwriters are signed with Sony Music as recording artists.  Today’s music marketplace requires that rates be both fair and sufficiently flexible so that all new models can thrive and create a healthy future for the overall music community and fans of music everywhere.  That is why we proposed roughly a 15% increase in the statutory rate for on-demand streaming.   

The National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) wrote to publishers expressing its solidarity with NSAI and characterizing the Sony proposal as an "attack by someone who should be our friend and partner." Will the warring sides find accommodation? If not, how might this play out? Stay tuned.

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