The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) today sent a letter to dozens of artists signed under the Sony Music Entertainment (SME) umbrella drawing their attention to a move by SME to devalue songwriter streaming mechanical royalties.
Dear Sony Music Entertainment Artist:
The Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is presently involved, along with other parties, in a federal Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) proceeding that occurs once every five years to set mechanical royalty rates for songwriters, including streaming subscription music services such as Apple Music and Spotify.
Sony Music Entertainment (SME) label group has taken an unprecedented and disturbing position in their private proposal to the involved CRB parties. They suggest both a decrease in mechanical royalty payments and limiting the potential for future royalty growth for songwriters in interactive streaming.
Sony does not pay these royalties to songwriters, the subscription streaming services and their customers do. So why are they even involved? Our conclusion is they want to lower payments to all songwriters, including SME artists who write their own songs.
Every other record label has come to an agreement on a variety of mechanical royalty payments with songwriters. Only Sony Music Entertainment is challenging the already meager amount songwriters earn in the streaming world. In light of the recent devastating ruling from the U.S. Department of Justice mandating 100% licensing, Sony's position is both insensitive and indefensible. Sony reportedly owning a part of a streaming company themselves, makes their position even more disturbing.
Sony won't publicly share its proposal to the CRB and we cannot release it due to non-disclosure rules imposed by the court. At minimum you should ask your label to make their proposal public, or drop out of the CRB altogether.
We welcome a public debate on this issue. You can help us accomplish that goal by contacting Sony Music Entertainment today to express your concerns.
Bart Herbison, Executive Director
Nashville Songwriters Association International
ARTICLE INCLUDING LETTER TO SONY MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT CEO DOUG MORRIS
BILLBOARD ARTICLE ON SONY RATE PROPOSAL