The Copyright Royalty Board in the United States has approved a 15.1% royalty rate for the years 2018-2022, up from 11.4%.
These royalties are paid to songwriters and publishers by streaming services like Spotify. The news precipitated an appeal from four major providers of streaming services: Apple, Amazon, Pandora and Google, who argued in a joint statement that the decision "raises serious procedural and substantive concerns," per Variety.
Last month, the streaming services asked the Copyright Office for additional time to pay for the increased royalty rate. They've argued that since the streaming royalties are split 75/25 amongst the record labels and music publishers, the rate increase should come from the record labels' share.
The streaming services didn't walk away empty-handed. The total content cost or TCC rate has been capped, according to Variety, and the definition of bundling (family plans and other packages) has been switched back to an older iteration.
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"Today the court reaffirmed the headline rate increase we earned four long years ago, confirming that songwriters need and deserve a significant raise from the digital streaming services who profit from their work," David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) told Variety. "We will fight to increase the TCC, or percentage of label revenue, which amounts to an insurance policy for songwriters, in the next CRB and will also fight for stronger terms regarding bundles."
The NMPA is reportedly arguing for a 20% headline rate for the period of 2023 to 2027.
The debacle surrounding royalty rate increases isn't over yet. The legal battle over the 2023-2027 rates is only just beginning, and the Copyright Royalty Board is expected to reveal its initial decision after Labor Day.