The Brag Media
News March 9, 2019

Spotify reportedly ‘suing’ songwriters, but why?

Spotify reportedly ‘suing’ songwriters, but why?

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Spotify and three other core streaming services – Pandora, Amazon, and Google – had launched legal appeals against the US Copyright Royalty Board’s recent decision to raise royalties by 44%. 

According to Music Business Worldwide, the recently imposed royalty rise is in “serious jeopardy.” These royalty rate rises mean songwriters are enabled to earn at least 44% more royalties through their songs being streamed across streaming platforms.

However, streaming giant Apple Music has revealed that they won’t be rejecting the new royalty rates. They refused to challenge the “important” pay-hike for songwriters. In the US, the National Music Publishers Association led the change. They’re “outraged” at Spotify and Amazon’s appeals. The NMPA has even accused Spotify leader Daniel Ek of “suing songwriters.”

David Israelite, President and CEO of NMPA, commented to Music Business Worldwide, “Spotify and Amazon are the bad actors; they drove the decision to appeal the [ruling]”

Israelite believes that the main push for legal action came from Spotify and Amazon, adding, “It’s fairly clear to us that (Google and Pandora) didn’t want to to appeal, and are only doing so to protect their interests because Spotify and Amazon [objected]. So they get a pass.”

While he’s fuming at the four streaming services’ appeal, he praises Apple Music for their support of the songwriting community. “Apple is now distinguished from two of their competitors because of the way they treat their songwriter partners”, Israelite comments.

The industry leader adds, “It’s been a longstanding approach from Apple… this is the latest demonstration they respect the writers much more than their competitors do, and that will play out in a lot of different ways in how it benefits Apple going forward.”

In the last few days, Spotify issued a joint statement with Amazon and Pandora, which claims the royalty rate rise decision “harms both music licensees and copyright owners.”

Israelite and the NMPA claim the damage has already been done, and any efforts Spotify now puts in to rectify this won’t be received well. Israelite further comments that, “Spotify engaged in a press campaign to make nice with the songwriter community. They would throw parties, put up billboards and they started the ‘Secret Genius’ program – as if somehow it was a secret that these were great songwriters – giving awards and honoring very talented people.”

He adds, “Every penny spent on that effort has gone to waste. I can promise you that no-one in the songwriting community is going to believe that Spotify cares, at all, about songwriters after taking this action.”

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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