We have a major victory for songwriters in the United States that is going to affect songwriter revenues for the next 5 years!
On January 27, the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) confirmed on that the compulsory mechanical rates distribution to songwriters will increase by 44% between 2018 to 2022. This decision is the result of a trial between National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and Nashville Songwriters Association (NSA). While the trial went on between March and June 2017, Spotify, Apple, Amazon and Google lobbied for the tech community to prevent this increase.
Currently the overall percentage of Revenue paid to songwriters is 10.5%. With this ruling, this rate will go up to 15.1% in the next five years, which is the largest rate increase in the history of CRB. David Israelite, president of NMPA made a statement to bring light to the ruling, where he has said:
“Crucially, the decision also allows songwriters to benefit from deals done by record labels in the free market. The ratio of what labels are paid by the services versus what publishers are paid has significantly improved, resulting in the most favorable balance in the history of the industry.”
The court also decided that digital music services need to pay songwriters faster or be subject to a significant penalty. Many experts say that this is the best mechanical rate scenario for songwriters in U.S. history. Especially since we are living through a recorded music market dominated by streaming companies, this is crucial.
In the current law, songwriters are treated very unfairly, as they are the main content providers for streaming services. In this way, it is important that songwriters get the compensation that they deserve. This ruling will change this, of course given if the tech companies will not appeal. So far, only Apple came forward to declare that they will not appeal the decision. Spotify, Amazon and the likes have not stated their decision yet. It will likely be a hugely unpopular move of course, but we will of course see what will happen.
“Songwriters desperately need and deserve the rate increases resulting from the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) trial. The CRB was a long and difficult process but songwriters and music publishers together presented a powerful case for higher streaming royalty rates.” said Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) Executive Director Bart Herbison.
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Alper Tuzcu is a Berklee College of Music and Denison University alumni, and a Boston based guitarist, songwriter and producer. His new album ‘Aurora’ was released on October 19, 2018 and his debut eclectic album ‘Between 12 Waters’ featuring 8 different vocalists is available on Spotify. In addition to being a musician, he regularly teaches workshops and masterclasses internationally. You can follow him on Instagram or Twitter, and for more information you can visit his website www.alpertuzcu.com