Songwriter Groups Want Their Voices Heard on CRB Royalty Rate ASAP

The Pact Songwriters Open Letter 2021
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A group of songwriter organizations have urged the Copyright Royalty Board to ensure they have the chance to publicly comment on a mechanical royalty rate settlement for CDs, vinyl, downloads and ringtones that was agreed upon by the three majors, the National Music Publishers’ Assn., and the Nashville Songwriters Assn. International.

In letters to CRB judges on May 17 and again on May 24, the songwriter groups expressed dismay that if the currently undisclosed settlement rate is the 9.1 cent amount that has been in place since 2006, they would like to object and want a chance to do so publicly and on record before the agency signs off on the settlement.

The organizations signing the letter are: the Songwriters Guild of America, the Society of Composers & Lyricists, the Alliance for Woman Film Composers, the Songwriters Assn. of Canada, the Screen composers Guild of Canada, Music Answers; and Music Creators North America and several international organizations.

According to the second letter to the judges, the CRB responded to the first letter by saying it is planning to publish the settlement in the Federal Register for public comments.

In that letter, the orgs beseeched the judges to ensure that the independent music creator community have the ability to file comments in a timely manner.

In its first letter, the songwriter organizations reminded that the 2-cent mechanical rate was in effect from 1909-1978; and noted that if the undisclosed pending settlement rate is in fact the re-application of the 9.1 cents rate that has been applied since 2006, that would mean that the rate would be in effect for just over 20 years when the 2023-2027 term ends. It adds the claim that inflation has already devalued the 9.1 cent rate; and likely would continue to do so.