ICMP urges Copyright Royalty Board to set fair rates

Brussels/Washington DC, 8 March 2017 –  The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) is this week starting the process of defining the mechanical rates paid by digital services and other non-recorded music entities for the next five years.

With interactive streaming the music industry’s most important growth sector, ICMP, the International Confederation of Music Publishers has today called on the CRB to do the right thing and increase royalty rates for songwriters and music publishers.  

The CRB is hearing proposals from big tech companies like Google and Amazon, while ICMP member, the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) as well as the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) are both representing the music industry.  

“As streaming’s popularity has grown dramatically in recent years, this rate setting procedure is crucial for rightsholders,” said ICMP Director General, Coco Carmona. “Songwriters are up against more obstacles than ever to make a living so fairer royalty rates would make a huge difference to their livelihoods.”  

In a letter addressed to songwriters, David Israelite, President and CEO of the NMPA said that online platforms like Apple want to pay as little as possible to songwriters for their songs. “The CRB adopt a structure that recognises the inherent value of a song, the value of a subscriber’s payment to access those songs, and all of the revenue that digital services generate from offering your music,” he wrote.  

The NMPA and NSAI have also asked songwriters to sign a petition "encouraging Google, Apple, Amazon, Spotify and Pandora to “stop litigating against songwriters and pay them a fair rate for their songs”.   Last year, the major record labels, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment reached a settlement agreement with the NMPA on rates and terms for physical configurations, downloads and ringtones in the CRB proceedings. As a result, they are not participating in the rate setting process for interactive streams and locker services.  The CRB has until 15 December 2017 to determine the rates.