In 2017, Spotify launched its Secret Genius Awards annual event to honor songwriters and producers behind some of the streaming platform’s most-played songs.
But now some of those same honorees are speaking out about something much less celebrated i.e. Spotify’s plan to appeal Copyright Royalty Board rates, along with Google, Pandora, and Amazon.
The letter expresses outrage at the streaming company’s plans to appeal a January 2018 decision by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board, which determined that mechanical royalties will be increased from 10.5 percent to 15.1 percent over the next five years.
On 11 March 2019, Spotify Technology SA issued a response to criticism it received to the Thursday announcement that it along with Google, Pandora and Amazon teamed up together.
It made to appeal a controversial ruling by the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board, it went through, would increase payouts to songwriters by 44%.
Letter by the songwriters
“We’re hurt and disappointed,” the dozens of songwriters wrote in an open letter to Spotify addressed to Spotify chief Daniel Ek.
“You created a songwriter relations team and ingratiated Spotify into our community. We know that you are not the only DSP appealing the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) rate determination.”
“You are, however, the only provider that made us feel we were working to build a modern music industry together.”
In January of last year, the Copyright Royalty Board ruled songwriters and music publishers would receive higher payouts from on-demand subscription services like Spotify and Apple Music, a decision that was announced by the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA).
After the decision was finalized this past February, Google, Pandora, and Amazon all co-signed the CRB challenge, though Apple notably did not.
“Now, we can see the real reason for your songwriter outreach. You have used us and tried to divide us but we stand together,” the songwriters’ open letter continues, including Ali Tamposi, Frank Dukes, Teddy Geiger, Babyface and Nile Rodgers as signatories.
“Our fight is for all songwriters, those struggling to build their career, those in the middle class and those few who have reached your Secret Genius level. But none of us is ‘secret!’ WE all create the ONE thing you sell, songs.”
“Do the right thing and drop your appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board rate determination,” the writers ended the letter, signing as the “Not So Secret Geniuses.”
Read the letter in full below.