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Spotify, Google, Pandora & Amazon Plan to Appeal Copyright Royalty Board Rates

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (CelebrityAccess) – Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon have filed notices stating that they intend to appeal the Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) rate determinations finalized last month.

The landmark ruling stated that royalty rates paid to songwriters in the US from on-demand subscription streaming services would rise by 44% over a period of five years (2018-2022).

Following the decision, streaming companies were given 30 days to lodge official opposition. Apple declined, however, yesterday (March 7) Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon filed separate official oppositions to the ruling with the court.

In a statement released Thursday, Spotify, Google, and Pandora said jointly: “The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB), in a split decision, recently issued the U.S. mechanical statutory rates in a manner that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns. If left to stand, the CRB’s decision harms both music licensees and copyright owners. Accordingly, we are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the decision.”

National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) President & CEO David Israelite responded: “When the Music Modernization Act became law, there was hope it signaled a new day of improved relations between digital music services and songwriters.

“That hope was snuffed out today when Spotify and Amazon decided to sue songwriters in a shameful attempt to cut their payments by nearly one-third.

“The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) spent two years reading thousands of pages of briefs and hearing from dozens of witnesses while both sides spent tens of millions of dollars on attorneys arguing over the worth of songs to the giant technology companies who run streaming services.

“The CRB’s final determination gave songwriters only their second meaningful rate increase in 110 years. Instead of accepting the CRB’s decision which still values songs less than their fair market value, Spotify and Amazon have declared war on the songwriting community by appealing that decision.”

Israelite continued: “No amount of insincere and hollow public relations gestures such as throwing parties or buying billboards of congratulations or naming songwriters ‘geniuses’ can hide the fact that these big tech bullies do not respect or value the songwriters who make their businesses possible.

“We thank Apple Music for accepting the CRB decision and continuing its practice of being a friend to songwriters. While Spotify and Amazon surely hope this will play out in a quiet appellate courtroom, every songwriter and every fan of music should stand up and take notice. We will fight with every available resource to protect the CRB’s decision.”

Based on the actions taken by Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon, NMPA will be filing a notice of appeal.

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