PLATT ON CRB DECISION, SONGWRITERS AND COMPOSERS' VOICES

In a letter obtained by HITS, Sony Music Publishing boss Jon Platt wrote to his constituency to address the Copyright Royalty Board's rejection of a proposed settlement over mechanical royalty rates for physical retail and downloads. The decision, following an outcry from songwriters, is seen by many in the publishing world as an example of the power of writers' voices. The letter appears in its entirety below.

Dear Songwriters and Composers,

I am writing to share an important update regarding the Copyright Royalty Board’s Phono IV proceedings.

In December I mentioned that this rate-setting process is currently the most critical issue facing songwriters and music publishers in the United States. Every five years the CRB sets U.S. mechanical royalty rates for both physical (CDs, vinyl) and digital (streaming and downloads) formats. At the beginning of the Phono IV process, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and major record labels entered into a settlement agreement that fixed the physical and download rates at the current 9.1 cents.

Physical and downloads make up a small percentage of the mechanical royalties that songwriters receive, and a decision was made to focus our resources on fighting for higher streaming rates—the dominant and growing format.

Yesterday, after hearing the objections of songwriters, the CRB rejected that settlement.

The CRB judges listened to the voices of songwriter advocates who made a strong case for higher physical and download rates and agreed that they should be increased. While it is still too early to predict the outcome, we are pleased that the CRB is receptive to higher rates, and we stand by these songwriter advocates and applaud their grassroots efforts and achievements.

Moving forward, our primary focus will continue to be on the fight for increased streaming rates, which make up most of songwriters’ mechanical income. Streaming holds the promise of even greater financial opportunities for songwriters, and we are hopeful for a positive outcome when the CRB process concludes.

I will reach out directly with further updates on the CRB. Until then, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

Jon Platt
Chairman & CEO, Sony Music Publishing

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