Warner Chappell: Spotify, Google and Amazon are paying songwriters an ‘appallingly low’ charge within the US

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The US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) is at the moment conducting proceedings to find out the mechanical royalty charge that music streaming companies pays songwriters for the 5 years between 2023 and 2027.

These proceedings, for the Willpower of Charges and Phrases for Making and Distributing Phonorecords (Phonorecords IV), additionally known as CRB IV, are carried out by three judges. The CRB is at the moment hiring for certainly one of them.

At present (February 7), in a letter despatched to Warner Chappell Music songwriters, and obtained by MBW, WCM Co-Chair and CEO Man Moot, and WCM Co-Chair and COO Carianne Marshall name the proceedings a “essential second” for songwriters, and urge them to “increase consciousness round this essential difficulty” over the approaching months.

Within the letter, Man Moot and Carianne Marshall additionally write that, “Not solely will the CRB resolve the long run mechanical royalty charges for streaming, there’s additionally a ‘ripple impact,’ the place the CRB’s determination can affect different negotiations with streaming companies, in addition to future charges”.

In October 2021, music streaming service homeowners together with SpotifyAppleAmazonPandora and Google filed paperwork with the CRB stating what they assume they need to pay songwriters for the 5 years between 2023 and 2027.

Earlier than these filings have been public, the Nationwide Music Publishers’ Affiliation (NMPA) claimed that the music streaming companies have been proposing to pay songwriters within the US the “lowest royalty charges in historical past”.

The NMPA’s personal proposal requested for the present headline charge (i.e. the proportion of a service’s annual revenues paid to songwriters) to be elevated to twenty%.

That will be a 4.9% increase from the 15.1% charge the NMPA secured within the earlier CRB course of, which is at the moment being appealed by the likes of SpotifyAmazon and Google.

That enchantment arrived the 12 months after a main victory was handed to songwriters within the US in January 2018, when the CRB dominated that royalty charges for streaming and different mechanical makes use of would rise from 10.5% to fifteen.1% within the 5 years between 2018 and 2022, which might mark the most important charge improve within the historical past of the CRB.

That call was ratified in February 2019, when the CRB revealed the ultimate charges and phrases for songwriters.

The next month (March 2019,) the likes of Spotify, GoogleAmazon and Pandora (however not Apple) opposed the ruling, in what the NMPA equated to “suing songwriters”.

Commenting on the enchantment of their letter to WCM’s US songwriters, Man Moot and Carianne Marshall name the 10.5% charge “appallingly low”.

In addition they notice that “songwriters, music publishers and different commerce associations” like the NMPA and the Nashville Songwriters Affiliation Worldwide “are advocating for a rise to 20% in Phono IV”.

“With out songwriters, we wouldn’t have songs or streaming companies – there’d be no music enterprise in any respect. You deserve this pay increase and extra.”

Man Moot and Carianne Marshall, Warner Chappell Music

Stated Man Moot and Carianne Marshall: “To interrupt issues down much more, these tech corporations at the moment ought to be paying you 15.1% – the speed that was set by the CRB for 2022, within the final CRB continuing known as Phono III.

“However as a substitute, Spotify, Amazon, Google and Pandora have spent greater than 4 years interesting that ruling. Whereas the enchantment performs out, they’re nonetheless paying the speed set by the CRB for 2017 – simply 10.5%.

“That’s an appallingly low charge. And now, among the greatest and most respected corporations on the earth are pushing to increase that 10.5% charge for the subsequent five-year interval.”

Elsewhere within the letter, WCM’s co-Chairs write that many songwriters “depend on songwriting as your main supply of earnings, and we’re doing all the pieces in our energy to realize a optimistic final result” [in the proceedings].

They add: “With out songwriters, we wouldn’t have songs or streaming companies – there’d be no music enterprise in any respect. You deserve this pay increase and extra.”

You’ll be able to learn Man Moot and Carianne Marshall’s letter in full under:


To our Warner Chappell songwriting household,

As your companions and your champions, we needed to let you realize a few essential combat that can decide what you make from streaming each now and within the years to return.

Within the U.S., there’s a portion of your income from streaming companies (comparable to Spotify, Apple and Amazon) – mechanical income – that’s decided each 5 years by three judges who make up the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) in Washington, D.C.

By early subsequent 12 months, in a continuing generally known as Phono IV, the CRB will decide the mechanical royalty charges that streaming companies pays music publishers and songwriters between 2023 and 2027.

This can be a essential second. Not solely will the CRB resolve the long run mechanical royalty charges for streaming, there’s additionally a “ripple impact,” the place the CRB’s determination can affect different negotiations with streaming companies, in addition to future charges.

To interrupt issues down much more, these tech corporations at the moment ought to be paying you 15.1% – the speed that was set by the CRB for 2022, within the final CRB continuing known as Phono III. However as a substitute, Spotify, Amazon, Google and Pandora have spent greater than 4 years interesting that ruling. Whereas the enchantment performs out, they’re nonetheless paying the speed set by the CRB for 2017 – simply 10.5%. That’s an appallingly low charge. And now, among the greatest and most respected corporations on the earth are pushing to increase that 10.5% charge for the subsequent five-year interval.

On behalf of all songwriters, music publishers and different commerce associations, the Nationwide Music Publishers’ Affiliation (NMPA), the Nashville Songwriters Affiliation Worldwide (NSAI) and Songwriters of North America (SONA) are advocating for a rise to twenty% in Phono IV.

We’ve been actively concerned on this charge continuing with a seat on the NMPA Board and illustration on numerous working teams, alongside our personal writers and board members Liz Rose and Ross Golan. A number of songwriter witnesses can even testify to the CRB about all the pieces that goes into writing a tune and the way the streaming companies’ efforts to devalue the works of songwriters is probably devastating.

Lots of you depend on songwriting as your main supply of earnings, and we’re doing all the pieces in our energy to realize a optimistic final result. With out songwriters, we wouldn’t have songs or streaming companies – there’d be no music enterprise in any respect. You deserve this pay increase and extra.

Over the subsequent few months, we encourage you all to lift consciousness round this essential difficulty and assist unfold the phrase all through the broader songwriting neighborhood. Your voice issues most on this debate.

We’re hopeful the CRB will make the fitting determinations that help the perfect pursuits of music creators such as you. Irrespective of the end result, we’ll proceed to work tirelessly to help and defend your rights and create new alternatives to your songs.

Along with your A&R staff, we’re at all times accessible if in case you have ideas or questions. It’s also possible to comply with the NMPA, NSAI and SONA for essential updates, and also you’ll be listening to from us once more quickly as we get nearer to the subsequent steps in Phono III and Phono IV.

Man & CarianneMusic Enterprise Worldwide

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