Are Spotify and Amazon suing songwriters?

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Are Spotify and Amazon suing songwriters?

WHAT’S THE RUMOUR

Are Spotify and Amazon suing songwriters?

Have you heard the one about the world’s biggest music-streaming services suing musicians and songwriters?

That’s the story that’s been doing the social-media rounds, with a slew of top industry figures criticising Spotify and Amazon for apparently taking artists to court, rather than pay artists increased royalties from streams.

Leading the charge is David Israelite, President of America’s National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), who decried Spotify and Amazon’s move to “sue songwriters in a shameful attempt to cut their payments by nearly one-third”.

The truth is a little more nuanced than the outraged tweets might have you believe:

Spotify and Amazon, along with Google and Pandora, have 30 days to appeal a ruling by the US Copyright Royalty Board that would see songwriters’ royalties shoot up by 44% over five years.

So, it’s a ‘yes and no’ – Spotify and Amazon are locking horns with the music industry in the courts, but they’re not targeting individual songwriters.

This is just another battle in the long running war between Spotify and musicians, which has seen several high-profile artists pulling music from the service over unfair pay-out rates.

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But before you hang up your guitar, US entertainment lawyer Jeff Becker suggests it was inevitable that the music-streaming maestros would appeal the decision –

to protect their profits – but believes the courts will find in favour of the royalty increase.

LIKELIHOOD

RATING 1 out of 5

‘Spotify sues songwriters’ is a simplified headline that raised awareness of the appeal without letting the truth get in the way.

No modern music-streaming site would make such a reputation damaging business move by suing a legitimate songwriter over profits.

However, all parties should, like Apple Music – praised by the NMPA as “a friend to songwriters” – accept the Copyright Royalty Board‘s decision, and support struggling, streaming songs miths.

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