U.S. Copyright Royalty Board Officially Submits a 44% Songwriter Streaming Royalty Increase


The U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has officially published a significant streaming royalty rate increase for songwriters and publishers. Will it be challenged?

Last year, songwriters and publishers scored a major increase in streaming royalty rates. Now, that 44% rate bump has been officially published by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board, though streaming services have 30 days to challenge the increase.

Ahead of any challenge, major publishers are issuing stern warnings to Spotify, Amazon, and other streaming music services.

“The Copyright Royalty Board publisher today the Final Rates and terms for songwriters for mechanical royalties (Decision was announced a year ago),” National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) president David Israelite declared.

“NMPA and NSAI [Nashville Songwriters Association International] fought hard to increase songwriter royalties by 44%+. The digital music companies now have 30 days to appeal that ruling, and in effect declare war on songwriters.”

The obvious next question is whether any of the streaming platforms will appeal the ruling.

Whether that works is anyone’s guess: earlier, mega-platforms like Spotify, Pandora, Sirius XM and others haven’t been shy about challenging royalty rates and terms they deem unfair, especially when investors stand to lose money.

Already, Apple has indicated that it won’t issue a challenge, according to media sources. That’s great news for publishers and songwriters, though it may also be a competitive tactic by Apple to outgun its competitors by forcing higher royalties on everyone.

That’s an interesting war of attrition, with Apple employing a monstrous war chest to achieve dominance over cash-stressed companies like Spotify.

The net result, of course, is great for songwriters and publishers. Though maybe Spotify isn’t so eager to play along — let’s see.


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