American songwriters and publishers have received the support of the International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) and the European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA) in their attempt to obtain fair mechanical rates for the use of music by digital services.
The move from ICMP and ECSA comes as the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) is currently holding a series of hearing with stakeholders to determine mechanical rates paid to songwriters and publishers by digital services and other non-recorded music entities for the next five years. In a joint statement, ICMP and ECSA claim that the outcome of these proceedings "will not only impact the US music sector; the entire industry will also be affected."
"At a time when the EU is looking at establishing a fair licensing environment for rightsholders, we salute our colleagues at the NMPA and NSAI and call on the CRB to adopt a structure that recognises the true value of composers’ and songwriters’ works," said ECSA and ICMP. They argued that tech companies "have for years shown disrespect for the value of music and with that the livelihoods of the composers and songwriters" and asked them "to pay composers, songwriters and publishers a fair price for their works via an online petition."
At the CRB trial, a united the music industry is represented the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) who face tech and media companies like Google, Amazon, Pandora, iHeart, among others. The three CRB judges have set a time limit with each side getting 65 hours to present arguments and counter arguments. The proceedings will end after a total of 130 hours of trial and the judges have until December 15, 2017 to make public their decisions regarding the rates.
The NMPA/NSAI proposal calls for streaming services pay a mechanical royalty determined either on a per stream rate, or on a percentage of advertising/subscription revenues or a combination of both. The NMPA/NSAI have asked songwriters to support them by signing a petition calling tech companies "to do what's right for songwriters."
“Giant tech companies Apple, Amazon, Google, Spotify and Pandora are attacking songwriters by trying to pay them even less, even though they depend on and hugely benefit from what they create," said NMPA President & CEO David Israelite, in a statement released to Music Week. "As the trial moves forward, we are bolstered by the huge number of songwriters who have signed our petition to call these companies out for devaluing creators. If these tech giants care about the songwriters who create the music that make their services possible, they will listen.”