Warner Music Group’s Warner/Chappell Music is the latest publisher to respond to Spotify, Amazon, Google and Pandora’s appeals of the Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) rate determinations that would boost revenue to songwriters by 44 percent over a four-year term.
In an open letter published Friday (March 15), Warner/Chappell chief operating officer Carianne Marshall said, “We value our relationships with the companies who help us deliver music to fans, but we have to draw a line on this issue. Their attempt to roll back rates fairly determined through the CRB process is unacceptable.”
She added that the publishing company is working with the The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and policy makers in Washington to defeat the appeal.
“We will vigorously seek to protect the value of music and passionately promote the rights of songwriters,” she said.
Last week the streaming services filed notice they planned to appeal the rate determinations, which increase songwriter and publishers’ headline royalty rates from 10.5 percent of revenue to 15.1 percent of revenue — something Marshall called “fair as well as overdue.”
These would be the first appeals filed against Section 115 determinations for music publishing rates. Apple Music is the only major streamer not appealing the ruling.
When Spotify, Google and Pandora announced their appeals last week, the companies issued a joint statement saying the CRB’s 2-1 split-decision ruling raised “serious procedural and substantive concerns.” It continued, “If left to stand, the CRB’s decision harms both music licensees and copyright owners. Accordingly, we are asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the decision.”
The NMPA and Sony/ATV have also spoken out against the tech companies’ actions. Marshall encouraged songwriters to support the NMPA by retweeting a statement from the organization.
Read Marshall’s full letter here.