Streaming royalties to rise almost 50% for songwriters, US Copyright Board declare

After almost a year of discussion over music streaming rates it has been decided that songwriter’s rates will rise 50% in the next 5 years.

Last march the United States Copyright Royalty Board began talks over the legal royalty rate for songwriters when their music is streamed in the US. On Saturday their decision was finally issued and in a triumph for musicians the board have decided that the rates will be raised by 50% over the next 5 years. Additional good news for artists on streaming services the Copyright Royalty Board have also changed how songwriters are paid mechanical royalties.

National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) president and CEO David Israelite said: “We are thrilled the CRB raised rates for songwriters by 43.8% – the biggest rate increase granted in CRB history. 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 favourable balance in the history of the industry.”

The new rates mean songwriters will get $1 for every $3.82 to labels. Israelite added that an “effective ratio of 3.82 to 1 is still not a fair split that we might achieve in a free market. The bottom line is this is the best mechanical rate scenario for songwriters in U.S. history, which is critically important as interactive streaming continues to dominate the market.”

Steaming services are yet to respond to the changes which will affect all of the top services including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon, Tidal, and all others streaming in the US. Although the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision can be challenged and the larger companies were likely fighting the change, it’s unlikely this will go to court for an appeal.

Sony/ATV chairman and CEO, Martin Bandier said: “As the leading music publisher, we believe that overall this is a very positive ruling by the CRB as it will deliver an unprecedented topline rate increase for songwriters and publishers over the next five years. While we are disappointed not to get the per-stream rate that we wanted, the planned rate increases go a long way to fairly compensate our songwriters for the essential contribution they make to streaming’s success story.”

Head of Social Media and Marketing, RouteNote

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