Spotify, Pandora, Amazon, and Google are appealing the US Copyright Royalty Board’s recent decision to increase songwriter royalty payouts by 44 percent, according to Variety.
Under the ruling, streaming services are required to pay songwriters and publishers 15.1 percent of revenue, up from 10.5 percent. The CRB’s 2-1 decision in favor of the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters’ Association International (NSAI) was voted on late last year, and formally made public last week, beginning a 30-day window in which appeals can be made.
In a joint statement, the tech giants said: “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.”
NMPA CEO David Israelite called their appeal a “shameful attempt to cut payments by nearly one-third,” adding, “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.”
The NMPA intends to use “every available resource to protect the CRB’s decision.”
As of publication, Apple Music is the lone streaming service not planning to appeal the CRB’s ruling. “We thank Apple Music for accepting the CRB decision and continuing to be a friend to songwriters,” Israelite said. “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.”