Songwriters have understandably been up in arms about the recent reports that Spotify is suing us and the news that they want us to reimburse them for overpayment of royalties.
What’s going on?
Well, after Spotify agreed to collaborate in shaping the Music Modernization Act and had the creative community believing they were finally beginning to understand our point of view, they turned around and appealed a January 2018 CRB (Copyright Royalty Board) ruling which awarded songwriters a long overdue 44% raise (over a 5 year period). So yeah, in a nutshell they agreed to be more responsible about paying the copyright owner (The MMA) but then they made efforts to lower the rate they’d pay us.
Then they proceeded to generate a whole lot of spin in their defense.
After countless offenses some of us are experiencing outrage fatigue — similar to how we feel about some other things going on these days. It seems that a culture of disinformation proliferation is catching on everywhere. Spotify has been jumping though hoops trying to bamboozle the public. But we’re onto them and we’re not going away.
In fact, we wanted to give them a chance to clear up the confusion in person so last month we (The NMPA, SONA and Ross Golan (And The Writer is Podcast), hosted an #AskSpotifyWhy Town Hall and invited them to come. But as you can see from Exhibit A. they didn’t show. (Neither did fellow-appealers Amazon, Google and Pandora…empty seats. All of them).
This gave NMPA’s Explainer-in-Chief David Israelite a wide open space to separate the spin from the facts. He did so with a series of slides and video clips that broke it down so effectively, I wanted to share them here…in case you weren’t at the Town Hall…or maybe you were but it’s already getting fuzzy. It’s hard to stay on top of all the moving parts of the digital business model while trying to keep our creative mojo, make dinner, pick up the kids, drive an uber!
Don’t be fooled by the spin (in red). The facts follow. Here we go…
Let’s review. Swipe and Watch!
As if the appeal wasn’t bad enough (insult to injury alert), Spotify is claiming that some parts of the CRB ruling actually mean they overpaid publishers for 2018 (a complicated formula based on Family and Student Plan rates), and they are NOT appealing THOSE aspects of the ruling. Just the ones that increase our rates. And they have announced that they will be deducting the overpayments from future earnings.
Spotify professes to be a champion of the creator. They’re the birther of the “Secret Genius” — a manufactured honor conceived to pander to our egos and a title that is now so laughably transparent. For a service that preaches the value of music and the people who create it, they sure are trying pretty hard to f*ck us over…as covertly as possible.
We have a choice. Apple Music did not appeal.
Let’s stay informed. Ahead of the 8 ball.
If these slides and clips help to spell it out, please share them with your friends. Stay connected. Follow and Join (or support) SONA. If we are as successful moving forward as we’ve been over the last few years you’ll earn your dues back 100 times over. We need you and you need us.
We’re determined to make it our business to fight any evil forces that would have us believing they’re our friends…and to make sure we get what we rightly deserve…paid fairly. That’s not too much to ask. Especially from a company that wouldn’t exist without the music they don’t want to pay us for. 😡