The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) will hold its annual meeting on June 15, 2022, at New York City’s Lincoln Center, the organization announced Wednesday (April 27).
This is the first year since 2019 that the NMPA has been able to host its annual meeting in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, which forced it to move to a virtual format in 2020 and 2021.
The recipient of the NMPA’s trademark Songwriter Icon Award has not yet been announced, but in past years, the advocacy organization has honored hitmakers like Taylor Swift, Jon Bon Jovi, Garth Brooks, Sting, Alicia Keys, Pharrell and Billy Joel with tribute performances of their iconic catalogs, sung by famous musical friends.
The annual meeting is an important touch base for the publishing industry each June, in which NMPA president and CEO David Israelite often voices issues facing the publishing sector and announces new initiatives. Last year, Israelite shocked the audience by announcing a $200 million copyright infringement lawsuit against Roblox for hosting a library of thousands of unlicensed songs within the game — just before launching into the evening’s lighthearted Songwriter Icon tribute to Swift.
Though Roblox denied the allegation soon after, the gamer settled with the NMPA less than four months later. The deal included payment for past music use and a timetable for negotiating go-forward licenses with publishers and songwriters.
Also at the 2021 virtual meeting, Israelite vowed to push forward with ongoing efforts to secure music licenses for Twitch — a promise the NMPA was also able to make headway on within a few months. In September 2021, Twitch and the NMPA reached an agreement to build “productive partnerships” between the two entities and also struck a monetary settlement. Notably, this did not include a licensing agreement.
In other years, the annual meeting has focused on issues like streaming rates set by the Copyright Royalty Board. “Remember, whatever gestures [the streaming services] give out, they are still in court trying to cut what they pay songwriters by a third,” Israelite warned in 2020. With Phonorecords III and Phonorecords IV still up in the air amid contentious battles between music publishers and DSPs, this issue will likely be a major talking point again at this year’s meeting.