If you are a frequent reader of our cabaret Blog posts, you will recall some conversation back in September that dealt with the Music Modernization Act which had just been passed. If you missed it, in short, it legally went back to 1972 and awarded artists from that era guaranteed royalties & copyrights on their music which continues to play in every corner of our society. Success story.
Now bringing it into the future, the same arguments rear their angry head in a similar showdown for contemporary artists. This time the battle plays out between songwriters and the majority of the big-Tech digital streaming services. That would be Spotify, Amazon, Google and Pandora. It involves the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) which has determined a "cost of living" increase in payouts with regard to digital streaming and will roll out over a 5 year period. I have read several articles with MUCH finger pointing and differing dollar amounts.
But what is certain, is that the above mentioned companies are appealing the CRB decision in support of something less compensating. Since the appeal is being challenged by the National Music Publishers Association & Nashville Songwriters Association I have to assume that it is a legitimate blow to the creative artist. What it amounts to is basically $.0003 per stream vs the proposed .$0004. Regardless of the argument, these streaming companies continue to grow as subscriptions become the preferred way to listen to all music. So in actuality, the artists are profiting an even smaller piece of the pie.
Interestingly enough; Apple Music is the sole company that is not challenging the CRB ruling. So if I can speculate, I would guess that if this continues to play out, we shall see a large number of visible artists in all genres of music pulling their content and limiting playing usage to one or a few of the vendors. And would you blame them?
Remember when we would buy our LP or cassette at the local Musicland and play it on our own stereo with headphones? I'm guessing we never fathomed how different the art of music would be 40 years later.
If you are an avid reader, here are a few resource links.
Songwriters Respond to Tech Bullies
Apple vs Spotify
Streaming Services Appeal Copyright Ruling