Spotify, Amazon, Pandora and Google among other streaming platforms have gained a victory in the Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) decision regarding a 44 percent increase in royalties. As of press time, only scant details of this decision have been made public, after the CRB’s panel of three judges sealed the ruling in this case.
Back in 2018 the CRB, who are appointed by the Library of Congress, voted in favor in a 2 to 1 decision to approve a 44 percent songwriter royalty uptick, which eventually received approval from Register of Copyrights Karyn Temple in February 2019. This decision was eventually appealed by Spotify and Pandora, during a one-month period. Apple Music did not appeal this decision, however Digital Music News notes that it may be: “part of a larger plan to outgun its cash-stressed competitors with an across-the-board royalty uptick.”
So far its only confirmed that the CRB vacated a portion of the decision, but they concurred with a different portion of the decision. Judges were reportedly interested in seeing how this 44 percent uptick would affect the relationship between labels and streaming platforms. Digital Music News also reports that 2/3rds of the panel seemed to imply that “If presented with the prospect of smaller royalty payments (to cover the bolstered mechanical rate), record labels could opt to remove their music from streaming platforms like Spotify and Pandora.”
This recent announcement comes a little over a week after Spotify CEO Daniel Ek’s controversial comments regarding music royalties. Ek’s comments have received backlash from artists across the industry including Neko Case, Fucked Up, Zola Jesus and Massive Attack.