Spotify, Amazon, Google, and Pandora are “suing songwriters” — and I’m appalled.
It’s important that everyone knows about this. The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) recently ruled to increase streaming payouts to songwriters in the United States by 44%. So for the first time in 110 years, songwriters will get an increase in royalties based on how much the music business has changed in that time. Great news, right? Especially considering that streaming platforms like Spotify, Amazon & Apple Music are the ones making most of the money off of every songwriter and artist they have on their platform.
Now Spotify and Amazon — alongside Google and Pandora — have all submitted a legal objection against a ruling.
Apple Music, however, stood alone in refusing to object to the CRB ruling.
Here are just a few reactions to this from major players in the music industry:
“Without songs, these tech companies have nothing to stream/sell. Shameful.”
-Justin Tranter (Songwriter / Ariana Grande, Fall Out Boy, Justin Bieber)
“Apple understands they’re in the artist business. Clearly, Google, Pandora, Spotify and Amazon don’t.”
-Irving Azoff (Full Stop Management)
“I find it really disappointing to see a company like Spotify not support the people behind the songs that make their business model possible.”
-Frank Dukes (DJ, Grammy-winning producer)
“I can promise you that no-one in the songwriting community is going to believe that Spotify cares, at all, about songwriters after taking this action.”
-David Israelite (President and CEO of the NMPA)
As a songwriter myself, I am clearly appalled by this move. The advent of digital music has already eaten up my music revenue over the years, and it’s cost me far more than I’ll likely ever be able to recoup to create and produce the music I have released. That’s a sad reality for most artists at any level today.
Let me be clear — this increase in streaming royalties is still insignificant in comparison to what music revenue used to be before streaming took over. As far as I’m concerned, this is the least that platforms like Spotify, Amazon & Apple Music can do.
That’s why I rely on the ongoing patronage that I receive through Patreon today — to help me keep me in business as a musician and creative. If the public is only paying these major platforms for the music they consume, what chance do artists and songwriters otherwise stand at making a living? Patreon is currently the only platform I know that is trying to give financial sustainability back to creators.
I realize that the public isn’t generally aware of all that transpires behind the scenes in this fast-changing music business landscape — but if you’re a Spotify user, for example, I think it’s important to know who you’re supporting and the decisions these streaming platforms continue to make that have crushing financial consequences on the songwriters and artists that keep them in business. Time and time again, I have felt powerless as a songwriter in the digital age of music.
So what can any of us do about all this? As a consumer of music, I’m choosing to switch from Spotify to Apple Music. As simple as that sounds, I hope it will send a message if enough of us make the switch in support of the CRB royalty increase ruling.
Of course, Apple has less to lose in all this so it’s a convenient way for them to be the good guys in this situation — but as a fellow songwriter who is tired of being financially burned and feeling under-appreciated, I applaud their decision to support the ruling. That is why I am switching from Spotify to Apple Music — and I hope you do too.
If you want to learn more about this, check out the following article: SPOTIFY VS. SONGWRITERS
Maybe even consider becoming a patron of the arts yourself while you’re at it.