The U.S. Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has officially published a significant streaming royalty rate increase for songwriters and publishers of 44%. Streaming services (like Spotify, Amazon, or SiriusXM) have 30 days to challenge the increase, as summarized by National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) president David Israelite:
“The Copyright Royalty Board publisher today the Final Rates and terms for songwriters for mechanical royalties (Decision was announced a year ago). NMPA and NSAI [Nashville Songwriters Association International] fought hard to increase songwriter royalties by 44%+. The digital music companies now have 30 days to appeal that ruling, and in effect declare war on songwriters.”
Apple has indicated it will not issue a challenge, but the other industry players have rarely been shy about legal advocacy for their prices and shareholders. Interestingly, Israelite’s strong words and tactics are intended to draw a firm line in the sand that streaming services won’t touch, but his strong-arming approach has sometimes backfired. Recently, he was accused of tortious business interference according to the principles of the American Mechanical Licensing Collective (AMLC), a group that competes with an NMPA-backed coalition to enforce the dictates of the Music Modernization Act’s Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC).