'Songwriters should see right through Spotify': NMPA hits back at Spotify's royalty rate appeal explanation

'Songwriters should see right through Spotify': NMPA hits back at Spotify's royalty rate appeal explanation

The National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has issued a point by point "fact check" of Spotify's explanation for its appeal against the Copyright Board's royalty rise. 

In early 2018 the US Copyright Board decided to raise on-demand streaming subscription rates for publishers and songwriters from 10.5% of revenues to 15.1%, a move projected to lead to a 44% increase in revenues. 

Earlier this week, Spotify, along with Amazon, Google and Pandora (Apple Music said it was happy to pay the new rate), belatedly announced its plans to appeal against the rise and defended its actions via one of its regular blog posts, which laid out five things songwriters “need to know” about the dispute.  

"A key area of focus in our appeal will be the fact that the CRB’s decision makes it very difficult for music services to offer 'bundles' of music and non-music offerings," it said. "This will hurt consumers who will lose access to them. These bundles are key to attracting first-time music subscribers so we can keep growing the revenue pie for everyone."

However, in response, NMPA president David Israelite (pictured) has accused Spotify of "misleading spin".

"Spotify is appealing the decision of the CRB to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in order to reduce or eliminate the royalty rate increases granted to songwriters by the CRB," he said in a blog post. "It’s that simple.  Everything else – including Spotify’s attempt to describe its filing as 'clarifying elements' of a ruling — is misleading spin. 

"Simple question for Spotify – do you want to reduce or eliminate the rate increase?  If the answer is anything but an unqualified “no”, then all songwriters should see right through Spotify’s attempt to divert and distract. 

"Spotify tries to deceive songwriters into thinking 'bundles', a topic few people understand well, is driving its decision to appeal, and makes no mention of intending to fight against the rate increase."  

Israelite concluded: "What can we expect from Spotify? We can expect them to attack songwriters to cut what it pays them, and then try to deceive you about what it is doing. Yes – Spotify’s mission is clear. And for songwriters, and those who care about songwriters, our mission is clear too. This fight has just started."

Read the NMPA blog in full here. To read Music Week's decoding of Spotify's defence, click here.

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