Apple Music is the only major music streaming service that isn’t appealing a recent U.S. Copyright Royalty Board ruling that would see songwriter royalty payments increase by 44%. Spotify, Google, Pandora, and Amazon are all appealing the ruling.
A joint statement from the first three of those companies reads: “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.”
In January, the Copyright Royalty Board ruled to increase songwriter streaming rates by 44%. Streaming services will be required to pay songwriters and publishers 15.1% of revenue, up from 10.5%. The increase was expected to be a big blow to smaller companies, while Apple, Amazon, and Spotify were expected to better weather the increases.
However, the report indicates Apple is the only major streaming service not appealing the rumor.
Sources say that Apple Music is alone among the major streaming services in not planning to appeal — as confirmed by songwriters’ orgs rushing to heap praise on Apple while condemning the seemingly unified front of the other digital companies.
David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers’ Association, praised Apple for its stance:
“We thank Apple Music for accepting the CRB decision and continuing to be a friend to songwriters,” he 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.”
In almost the same breath, Israelite slammed Amazon and Spotify for their opposite stance:
“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.”
Israelite says the NMPA will fight Spotify, Amazon, and the other services (excluding Apple) “with every available resource to protect the CRB’s decision.”