Billboard: NMPA CEO David Israelite to Songwriters: Court Case With Spotify, Amazon Has ‘Seismic Implications’

March 10, 2020


Songwriters: This week, Spotify and Amazon are quite literally taking you to court. A great deal of the business of how much you get paid happens in a room a few blocks from the U.S. Capitol. Every five years a board of three judges sets your royalty rates for mechanical uses – including those in interactive streaming like Spotify and Amazon. Two years ago, in January of 2018, after months of argument, those judges gave you a 44% raise.

After the excitement died down, some of the services – led by Spotify and Amazon – determined that despite their reliance on songwriters, they would not let this decision stand. Even with their billion dollar profits, they decided to appeal this decision, and on Tuesday March 10, these tech giants will again face songwriters and music publishers in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

When their appeal was announced last year, Spotify in particular rushed to assure songwriters that it wasn't really trying to discard your raise and instead they wanted to "clarify elements" of the decision and that Spotify indeed did think songwriters "deserved to be paid more." This is directly contradicted by the case they put on in 2017 which proposed actually cutting songwriters' old rates. Ultimately, they hope to cut what you are paid by a third.

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