March 12

Country Artists and Songwriters Speak Out as Streaming Platforms Appeal Payout Increase Ruling

Several country artists and songwriters speak out about the gargantuan push back that streaming platforms are doing with the 44 percent payout increase to artists.

streaming platforms

Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, Google, and Apple Music were put on notice back in 2018 when the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) ruled that payouts to songwriters would increase by 44 percent over the next few years.

But then, four of the online streaming music hegemons are pushing this ruling back with a request to the U.S. Court of Appeals to contest the ruling. They are subsequently facing a huge wave of backlash from songwriters, including many within the country music community.

Streaming Platforms vs Artists

According to Variety, Spotify, Google, and Pandora released a joint statement regarding the CRB’s decision:

“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.”

A number of songwriters have spoken out about this issue on social media. They are calling for the streaming hegemons to reconsider their position regarding the ruling.

streaming platforms
via Business Insider // Thomson Reuters

Luke Laird writes on his Instagram account while sharing a screenshot of his Spotify cancellation subscription notice:

“It’s sad to see the powers that be undermine the hard work their employees have put in to build bridges to the songwriting and publishing communities.”

Chris DeStefano also adds his two cents:

“Just making music more easily accessible does NOT mean it will be sustainable … This will not stand. We must fight with everything and all resources possible.”

It should be noted that the current payout increase that’s being contested would bring royalties from .003 cents to .004 cents. President and CEO of the National Music Publishers Association David Israelite had some choice words for the push back.

“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.”

streaming platforms
Photo Illustration: Yuliya Kim; Sources: Getty Images

Spotify denies that they are suing songwriters, however, they believe that they should be paid more than they currently are. And that the issue at hand is primarily with the “complex” CRB rate structure.


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