Apple Music sides with artists in battle for higher royalty payouts

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Apple Music
Apple decided not to fight the ruling to pay songwriters more.
Photo: Apple

Every major music streaming service is joining together to appeal a controversial ruling that increases payouts to songwriters. Everyone except Apple Music that is.

Spotify, Google, Pandora and Amazon have teamed up to fight the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase payouts to songwriters by 44%. Apple is the only major streamer not planning to fight the ruling, causing some artists to heap praise on the iPhone-maker for its stance.

The National Music Publishers’ Association criticized the appeal by the music streaming services, saying “the big tech bullies” don’t respect the songwriters that make their platforms possible. David Israelite, CEO of the NMPA singled Apple out for breaking from the pack.

“We thank Apple Music for accepting the CRB decision and continuing to be a friend to songwriters,” he said. “While Spotify and Amazon surely hope this will play out in a quiet appellate courtroom, every songwriter and every fan of music should stand up and take notice. We will fight with every available resource to protect the CRB’s decision.”

Israelite went on with his criticisms of Spotify and Amazon saying they’re shamefully attempting to cut artists’ pay by nearly one-third. Considering Spotify doesn’t have the same ability as Apple to generate massive profits from its other products, it’s not really a surprise that it’s trying to lower its costs. Ditto for Amazon which has a hard enough time opening its wallet for Uncle Sam.

The board’s ruling was made over a year ago, but the 30-day window to make an appeal just opened last month. Spotify, Google and Pandora released the following joint statement:

“The Copyright Royalty Board, in a split decision, recently issued the U.S. mechanical statutory rates in a manner that raises serious procedural and substantive concerns. 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.”