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Sony, NMPA, NSIA Settle Rates Dispute

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CelebrityAccess) —- The National Music Publishers’ Association, the Nashville Songwriters Association International and Sony Music Entertainment have all submitted a joint agreement with the Copyright Royalty Board that will settle ongoing disagreements over the proposed new statutory mechanical royalty rates from 2018-2022.

Similar to NMPA’s previously announced settlement with record labels Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group, the agreement includes a roll-forward of rates covering physical products, digital downloads, and ringtones.

The deal will also see Sony withdraw its input on proceedings about rates for on-demand streaming.

In a joint statement commenting on the deal, NMPA, NSAI and Sony Music said, “The parties are pleased to have reached a mutually beneficial settlement in this matter. Sony Music and the music publishing community value their relationship, and as the music marketplace continues to evolve it is more important than ever that the music community stands united to demand fair market pay for songwriters and artists from all digital music services. We look forward to working together to pursue that shared objective.”

Before Sony and the associations reached an agreement, there had been some public infighting between the stakeholders, with David Israelite, CEO of the NMPA accusing Sony of trying to reduce songwriter income from on-demand streaming.

His sentiments were echoed by NSAI's executive director Bart Herbison who, in an open letter to Doug Morris, suggested that Sony was seeking to lower royalty rates while masking the reduction behind an increase in headline rates.

"It is embarrassingly disingenuous that Sony would attempt to hide behind its claim to “increase the headline rate” when in fact its proposal to the CRB would actually lower the rates songwriters currently receive from digital interactive streaming services. Warner Brothers, Universal and other record labels have chosen not to attempt to suppress the rates digital interactive services pay to songwriters. Perhaps they understand that ultimately their profits really rest on the great songs we create," Herbison wrote in August. – Staff Writers