In a recent blog post you can read here, I shared the great news about the ruling by U.S. Copyright Royalty Board a few days ago. According to the ruling, the songwriter payouts would increase by 44% in the next five years. Apple Music announced that they would not appeal the decision, while Spotify, Google, Amazon and Pandora have been idle for a while.
Last week, it turned out that Spotify, Google, Amazon and Pandora have teamed up to appeal this decision, where they issued a joint statement, despite filing their appeals to the court separately. Apple Music stands its ground for not appealing, as many songwriting organizations are praising Apple for their artist-friendly stance on this issue.
David Israelite, who is the CEO of National Music Publishers’ Association issued a hardline statement, where he stated:
“When the Music Modernization Act became law, there was hope it signaled a new day of improved relations between digital music services and songwriters. That hope was snuffed out today when Spotify and Amazon decided to sue songwriters in a shameful attempt to cut their payments by nearly one-third. … 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.”
Bart Herbison, who is the executive director of the Nashville Songwriters Association International also made a statement about the appeals: “It is unfortunate that Amazon and Spotify decided to file an appeal on the CRB’s decision to pay American songwriters higher digital mechanical royalties. Many songwriters have found it difficult to stay in the profession in the era of streaming music. You cannot feed a family when you earn hundreds of dollars for millions of streams.”
I think that the statements by both NMPA and NSAI summarize what most musicians/songwriters/and all artists are currently thinking. I also think that the tech companies should never forget that the content creators of their streaming platforms are musicians, and it would be a wiser strategy to invest in musicians, rather than trying to play dirty and cutting their royalty rates. Also, fans and listeners take note of these moves by tech companies, which should bring Apple Music one step forward in the streaming competition.
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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