The Nashville Metro Council has issued a new resolution supporting songwriters’ ongoing fight against streaming services’ appeal to veto a pay raise for rights holders.
On Tuesday evening, city leaders passed a new resolution requesting digital music streaming platforms “refrain from any appeal of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board’s 2018 ruling increasing revenue shares for songwriters.” The resolution follows the CRB’s January 2018 decision that songwriters and publishers should get annual increases in the headline rate from 10.5 percent to 15.1 percent by year 2022. After logistics of the ruling were finalized in February of this year, Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon filed appeals, leaving the future of songwriters’ long-demanded pay raise uncertain.
The new resolution was sponsored by metro council member Jeff Syracuse, who said the resolution is a way for the metro council to help show its support for the songwriters of Nashville’s Davidson County.
“We have the greatest concentration of songwriters in any city in the world,” Syracuse told Billboard. “This was an opportunity to advocate for that. I’m hoping this resolution helps push forward the effort to encourage the streaming services to drop their appeals.”
Syracuse has 20 years of music industry experience working at BMI and says he has seen the complexities of copyright and its effects on songwriters firsthand while working for the music rights company. “[Songwriters are] having to work three jobs because they are dedicated to their craft and want to be able to do it. It’s obviously critically important that we have viable songwriters, because they are the basis of the entire music industry,” he stressed. “This is another reason why I thought it was a good time to speak from the local perspective; how what’s happening at the federal level has a very strong impact on what happens right here in Nashville.”
As the city of Nashville continues to grow, Syracuse said the affordability of Music City is becoming a challenge for songwriters when it comes to finding decent housing and work space.
“They’re being hit from both sides now, so it’s made it even more important to speak from a local perspective how the lack of an equitable royalty rate for songwriters is impacting the very foundation of Music City, which is our songwriters,” he added.
Syracuse, as well as Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) are leading the charge when it comes to advocating on behalf of songwriters in Nashville. Both NSAI and NMPA recently hosted a town hall meeting to discuss the ramifications for the streaming services’ appeal of the recent CRB rate increase for publishers and songwriters. Another town hall meeting is scheduled to take place in Los Angeles on May 13, all in hopes to push Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon to drop their appeal.