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Songwriter, Artist Trade Groups Applaud CRB Mechanical Rate Increase

"With this settlement filed, we clear the way to focus solely and tirelessly on raising streaming rates," said NMPA president/CEO David Israelite.

On Thursday (May 5), trade groups representing the major record labels, publishers and songwriters announced a settlement to increase the mechanical rate for physical and download sales to 12 cents per song — a 32% boost from the 9.1 cent rate that has been in place since 2006. The settlement was subsequently filed as a motion to the Copyright Royalty Board.

Thursday’s development arrived as welcome news for songwriters and their advocates, who had erupted in protest over the initial settlement, which would have kept the subpart B mechanical royalty rates at 9.1 cents per song for the 2023-2027 term.

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Following the announcement of the new settlement, groups including the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), Songwriters of North America (SONA), the Music Artists Coalition (MAC) and The Recording Academy released a flood of statements celebrating the news. You can find a roundup of their reactions below.

NMPA president & CEO David Israelite: “This new settlement gives songwriters a 32% raise on sales of vinyl, CDs and downloads – raising the rate from 9.1 cents to 12 cents – and critically also includes a yearly cost of living adjustment to address inflation. This extremely positive result is due in large part to the creators who made their voices heard in the CRB process. With this settlement filed, we clear the way to focus solely and tirelessly on raising streaming rates. As we battle the biggest companies in the world, who are pushing for the lowest royalty rates in history, songwriters and their advocates stand more united than ever.”

Bart Herbison, executive director, Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI): “We want to thank the CRB for signaling an opportunity for an increase on physical rates. The 32% increase on CDs, Vinyl and downloads is welcome and the fact that the cost of living adjustment is built in helps us maintain increases in the future.”

Michelle Lewis, executive director, Songwriters of North America (SONA): “SONA enthusiastically supports the proposed phonorecords IV Subpart B settlement, which controls how much songwriters and publishers are paid for Digital Permanent Downloads, Vinyl & CD sales. Big or small, all songwriters should always have a voice in the decisions that govern and affect our livelihood. We are grateful that our collective voice has been heard. This is a long overdue step in correcting the low rates historically paid to songwriters and it’s about time a song’s inherent value is properly recognized.”

Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP): “The AIMP fully endorses the proposed CRB Subpart B settlement, which would increase the mechanical rate for physical sales and digital downloads from 9.1 cents to 12 cents. This is a step in the right direction and will be a significant boon for the independent music publishing community. Moving forward, nearly all independent publishers will tell you that the future of the music business is in streaming, and we applaud the continued efforts of the NMPA to fight for better streaming rates for all independent music publishers and songwriters.”

Harvey Mason Jr., CEO, The Recording Academy: “I want to applaud the NMPA and RIAA for working together to act in the best interest of songwriters. This settlement demonstrates that when the music community acts collaboratively, we can achieve meaningful progress for music creators.”

Evan Bogart, chair of the Recording Academy’s Songwriters & Composers Wing: “This settlement provides a necessary and long overdue raise for songwriters that will make a real difference in their lives and livelihoods. Importantly, it will also ensure that songwriters continue to be paid fairly over the next five years as this increase is indexed for inflation.”

Graham Davies, chief executive, Ivors Academy: “The Ivors Academy of UK songwriters and composers welcomes the news that the value of songwriting and publishing rights are beginning to be better recognised. This is an important settlement and indicates the necessary direction of travel.”

Brittain Ashford, executive director, Music Publishers Association of the United States (MPA): “This unprecedented rate increase for vinyl, CDs and downloads will have a significant impact on our industry and hopefully points to potentially higher rates for streaming from the CRB. We appreciate the efforts to come to this agreement and thank NMPA for working on behalf of songwriters and publishers.”

Prophet, co-founder/co-chair Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC): “BMAC supports the proposed phonorecords IV Subpart B settlement. Our organization applauds the negotiators for proposing to increase payment for artists by 33%, and we are particularly happy to see the acknowledgments of cost of living adjustments for songwriters. As we recognize there’s still much more to be done, we must acknowledge each step made in the right direction towards equality for the songwriter.”

Adam Taylor, chairman, Production Music Association (PMA): “This new settlement is a massive step forward for all composers and songwriters and will be of great benefit to many thousands of production music creators whose also works are offered for sale to the public through CDs, vinyl and digital platforms. We thank the NMPA for negotiating a 32% raise and continuing to fight for higher, fairer streaming rates in the CRB this fall.”

Tiffany Red, founder and executive director, The 100 Percenters: “With the sale of vinyl and CDs continuing to rise, songwriters getting a royalty increase shows that labels are beginning to see that we deserve better rates. We hope that with the impending CRB trial, all parties will try to work together so that songwriters can get closer to having a livable wage.”

Don Cason, president/CEO, Church Music Publishers Association (CMPA): “We are very pleased with the 32% increase included in the Subpart B settlement negotiated by the NMPA. Songwriters are in great need of better rates that more fully reflect their contributions. We hope that the CRB will recognize this in the larger streaming fight happening this year and that this bodes well for things to come.”

Artist Rights Alliance (ARA): “This settlement is a meaningful win for songwriters who will see a 33% jump in royalties for physical music sales and downloads starting in 2023 while locking in future increases to keep up with inflation for the life of the deal. We are so grateful to the many grassroots songwriter advocates who refused to accept a status quo settlement and kept banging on the door of the CRB until they were heard.”

Susan Genco, Music Artists Coalition (MAC) board member: “Music Artists Coalition applauds and endorses the proposed CRB settlement which gives songwriters a much-deserved raise on physical sales and downloads. The songwriting community has successfully advocated for this rate adjustment and will continue fight for an increase where it really matters – streaming. Finally some good news for music creators!”