4,000 Songwriters Sign NMPA Petition As Copyright Royalty Rate Hearings Heat Up

An interior view of the Main Reading Room from an overlook at the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, DC.
Nikki Kahn/The Washington Post via Getty Images

An interior view of the Main Reading Room from an overlook at the Library of Congress Thomas Jefferson Building in Washington, DC.

Bruce Hornsby, John Densmore and Paula Cole are among the signees.

To coincide with the beginning of the Copyright Royalty Board rate setting proceedings yesterday, the National Music Publishers’ Assn. has so far gathered 4,000 songwriter signatures in an attempt to make sure their voices are heard by the CRB Judges.

In reaching out to songwriters, the NMPA wrote, "This week the most important trial most people have never heard of will begin in Washington, D.C. ... On one side, giant technology companies Google, Apple, Amazon, Spotify and Pandora will argue to reduce the already low mechanical royalty rates they pay to play your songs. On the other side will be your music publisher, through the National Music Publishers’ Association, fighting alongside the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) for a much needed increase in the royalties you are paid."

So far, over 4,000 songwriters have signed the petition to the CRB, including such songwriters as Bruce Hornsby, John Densmore, Herb Alpert, Greg Kurstin, Craig Wiseman, Paula Cole and Desmond Child, according to the NMPA.

In its letter, the NMPA acknowledged that the huge tech companies are creating new ways to distribute music, but "they are also fighting in this trial to pay as little as possible to songwriters for the songs that drive their businesses.

Not only is interactive streaming becoming the most important method for consumers access to music, but it is being used to sell other product and services, such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices, iPhones, Beats headphones and Amazon Prime subscriptions, the NMPA noted in its letter. "If Amazon is using your music to sell Echos or Amazon Prime subscriptions, it should be required to share with you the benefits received," the NMPA argues.

"NMPA is working on your behalf to achieve better, fairer royalty rates for all songwriters and music publishers," the letter states. "Our proposal asks the CRB to adopt a structure that recognizes 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."


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