Songwriters Will Get Paid More Thanks to Copyright Royalty Board
Songwriters everywhere have just gotten a huge win. According to a new report from Variety the Copyright Royalty Board, a Library of Congress subcommitte responsible for handling varying copyright licenses, has ruled that songwriters' streaming pay gets raised by over 40 percent over the next five years.
The CRB reached their Federal Court ruling in favor of the National Music Publishers’ Association and Nashville Songwriters’ Association International last Saturday (Jan. 27). Simply put, it requires that streaming services like Amazon, Google, Apple, Pandora and Spotify pay songwriters more for the use of their music.
Writers had been looking for a per-stream rate, and although they didn't get that, music streaming services were looking to decrease the rates songwriters already believed were too low in the first place. With that in mind, it's hard to see this as anything but a massive victory for songwriters everywhere.
The new method of calculating payments is more simple than previous iterations that involved 12 different computations. The new version follows the "greater of" concept.
The new method is made up of two components: "percentage of revenue or total content costs." Content costs are the payments made to labels, and they are handled without any legal shackles, enabling songwriters to participate in more free market enterprises. Making matters even better, caps that had previously been applied to writers' rates are no more.
David Israelite, who operates as both the president and CEO of the NMPA, knows this is a huge deal. “We are thrilled the CRB raised rates for songwriters by 43.8%—the biggest rate increase granted in CRB history,” he 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.”
Before this, songwriters had asked the CRB to pay 15 cents per 100 streams. Their request wasn't granted, though. Now, writers will be given $1 for every $3.82 a label receives.
The process isn't perfect, but it's definitely something that's going in the right direction.
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