We are writing regarding Spotify’s decision to “bundle” music with audiobooks, resulting in an estimated annual loss of as much as $150 million in mechanical royalty payments to American songwriters, composers and music publishers. This attempt at lowering royalty payments to an already beleaguered songwriter community is in the worst bad faith and a perversion of the Copyright Royalty Board settlement that the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI), the National Music Publishers Assn. (NMPA) and the Digital Media Assn. (DiMA) agreed to in 2022.  It counters every statement Spotify has ever made of claiming the company is friendly to creators.

“Bundling” music with other offerings without a music-only option does not comport with our view of the intent of the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) in recent Phonorecord procedures in which the NSAI participated.  Further, this move negates gains awarded to songwriters by the CRB.  NSAI will not accept what we view as an attempt to manipulate the intent of the court though a “bundling” gimmick. NSAI calls for Spotify to immediately reverse its course and offer separate music subscription choices at price points that will fairly remunerate songwriters.

The American songwriter community is appalled that this is happening while Spotify is reporting record profits, and while founder Daniel Ek has recently cashed in a reported $180 million in stock options, including $118 million that practically coincided with the “bundling” announcement which reduced Spotify’s yearly royalty obligation.  The amount Ek cashed in conveniently mirrors the estimated amount that Spotify wants to leech off the back of songwriters who create the product on which streaming services are making billions.

Reporting record profits while reducing songwriter royalties as the company founder cashed in millions in stocks proves a greedy, offensive and callous disregard for the songwriters on whose backs these revenues are generated.

Signed unanimously by Nashville Songwriters Association International

Executive Director Bart Herbison and board members:

Rhett Akins, Trannie Anderson, Kelly Archer, Steve Bogard, Roger Brown, Sarah Buxton, Jeff Cohen, Chris DeStefano, Jessi Jo Dillon, J.T. Harding, David Hodges, Byron Hill, Brett James, Josh Kear, Jamie Moore, Lee Miller, Tim Nichols, Jon Nite, Josh Osborne, Liz Rose, Rivers Rutherford, Jenn Schott, Emily Shackelton, Caitlyn Smith, Anthony Smith, Troy Verges, Parker Welling