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Streaming companies appeal CRB in “shameful” bid to cut payments

In a split decision last year, The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) called for a mechanical royalty increase of 44 per cent over a four-year term for songwriters and publishers, with the average royalty per stream currently sitting at about USD$0.005. In a statement last month, National Music Publishers’ Association (NPRA) president David Israelite said that any challenge to the proposed royalty increase would be “declaring war on songwriters.”

Well, the war is officially on, with an enemy assault coming from the largest streaming players in the world: Spotify, Google, Amazon, and Pandora. The streaming companies were given 30 days to lodge an official opposition to the proposed mechanical royalty increase, to which Apple declined, and the other major streaming services appealed.

David Israelite has equated the appeal to directly suing musicians. He’d hoped the CRB’s call to increase royalties would signal “improved relations between digital music services and songwriters”. 

Israelite has called the attempt by major streaming companies to cut their payments by nearly a third “shameful”.

“The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) spent two years reading thousands of pages of briefs and hearing from dozens of witnesses while both sides spent tens of millions of dollars on attorneys arguing over the worth of songs to the giant technology companies who run streaming services.

“The CRB’s final determination gave songwriters only their second meaningful rate increase in 110 years. Instead of accepting the CRB’s decision which still values songs less than their fair market value, Spotify and Amazon have declared war on the songwriting community by appealing that decision.”

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March 9, 2019

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