Music Publishers’ Spotify Royalty Battle

The Battle Against Spotify’s Audiobook Bundling Plans

The campaign opposing Spotify’s controversial audiobook bundling strategy in the US is gaining momentum. The CEO of the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) has emphatically stated the need to stand up against Spotify’s scheme. The Association of Independent Music Publishers (AIMP) has pledged unwavering support to NMPA in thwarting Spotify’s plan.

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Indie publishers have revamped their demand to Spotify, insisting that users should be automatically opted out of the new bundle package that includes audiobooks and pays lower royalties to songwriters. Spotify’s recent subscription restructuring in the US involves segregating music, podcasts, and audiobooks into distinct options, with the premium subscription being classified as a bundle, potentially reducing royalties to publishers and songwriters.

The contentious compulsory license, reviewed by the Copyright Royalty Board every five years, has stirred up disputes, with Spotify and other streaming services attempting to lower royalty rates unsuccessfully. The recent revelations surrounding Spotify’s leveraging of bundling terms have reignited tensions between streaming services and publishers.

The Fight Against Spotify’s Maneuvers

NMPA is exploring legal avenues to combat Spotify’s actions, with CEO David Israelite calling it a direct assault on songwriters. AIMP has voiced concerns over potential revenue losses, branding Spotify’s move as deeply cynical. The compulsory license restrictions prevent publishers from safeguarding against such maneuvers, setting the stage for a looming confrontation.

The Mechanical Licensing Collective (MLC) oversees the compulsory license’s administration, raising questions about its stance on Spotify’s bundling tactics. Amidst the brewing opposition, AIMP urges all independent music publishers to unite against what they perceive as an attack on their livelihood. The support extends beyond the music community, with authors aligning with AIMP in denouncing Spotify’s actions.

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Implications and Demands

As Spotify gears up to increase the price of its premium product, stakeholders are calling for transparency and fair treatment. AIMP advocates defaulting subscribers to music-only accounts and offering the audiobook service as an add-on to ensure equitable royalty rates for all involved parties.

The Coalition of Concerned Creators, formed by authors and literary agents, stands in solidarity with AIMP in challenging Spotify’s foray into the audiobook domain. The ongoing dispute underscores the delicate balance between streaming services, publishers, and creators, highlighting the complexities of the digital music landscape.

As the battle against Spotify’s bundling tactics intensifies, industry players are poised to defend their rights and protect the integrity of creative output in the face of evolving digital distribution models.

References: NMPA, AIMP, Copyright Royalty Board, MLC

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