The Copyright Royalty Board’s 2018 decision to raise the rate paid to songwriters over the next handful of years has led some streaming platforms to balk at the idea. That includes Spotify, which may actually be helping Apple Music net even more monthly subscribers.
According to a report from Variety on Tuesday, Apple Music is “most certainly winning the PR war” that has grown out of this decision from the CRB and the company reactions. While Spotify is seeing the brunt of the backlash, it’s worth noting that it’s not the only company that is appealing the decision to pay songwriters 44% more over 5 years. Amazon, Google, and Sirious/XM are also aiming to pay songwriters less than what the CRB has decided is appropriate (for the time being).
(These companies have said that their appeal of the decision to pay songwriters more is rooted in the complexity of the decision, and not necessarily just to keep from paying songwriters more. However, it’s impossible to ignore that this decision will hike the rate these companies have to pay out once it’s ratified.)
As it stands right now, Apple Music is the only major streaming platform to not try to appeal the decision.
“As a sign of how badly the PR war is going, many songwriters are canceling Spotify subscriptions and doing so publicly on social media, where they make sure to note their subscription fees will now be going to Apple Music.
For its part, Spotify tried to save face by quietly planning “town hall” gatherings in Nashville and Los Angeles meant to explain the company’s stance on the CRB appeal directly to songwriters. However, word leaked out, National Music Publishers Assn. president David Israelite urged writers not to attend without a rep from a songwriter organization present, and the meetings, which were never officially announced, never happened.”
Apple’s executives have consistently said aloud that they are on the side of artists, and that certainly appears to be the case right now as it relates to this decision. However, that was not always the case. Just look back at the launch of Apple’s streaming music platform. The company was more than willing to skip paying artists of any kind for three months as it launched the service alongside a three-month free trial. That was heinous back then. But, if that helped the company see the light on this particular topic, it’s good to see it had a lasting effect.
Recently, it was reported that Apple Music had surpassed Spotify’s paid subscribers in the United States.
It’s good to see Apple taking this position. Whatever the reasoning these other companies are slinging, it does boil down to the platforms not wanting to pay songwriters more over the course of five years. Let’s just hope Apple doesn’t jump on this appeal bandwagon before the decision is made and tarnish the goodwill it’s apparently picking up.