Sony/ATV CEO Martin Bandier Issues Letter To Songwriters Regarding CRB Rates Appeal

Martin Bandier

Sony/ATV Music Publishing CEO Martin Bandier has added his voice to those from the songwriting and publishing communities criticizing Spotify, Amazon, Google, and Pandora for their appeal of the recent rate ruling from the Copyright Royalty Board. Notably, Apple Music is not participating in the appeal. Bandier issued the following letter to Sony/ATV writers, expressing his disappointment “that Spotify and the other companies have chosen to attack songwriters by appealing the long-overdue rate increases.”

If the ruling goes forward, pay from such music services to songwriters would increase by 44 percent.

Bandier’s letter reads:

Dear Songwriter,

I am writing to update you about some important developments for songwriters in the U.S. regarding the mechanical royalty rates that the Copyright Royalty Board set last year.

As you may recall, in January 2018 the CRB set a series of new rates that include an increase to the statutory mechanical rate for on-demand streaming from 10.5 percent of revenue to 15.1 percent of revenue over the period 2018 to 2022. This was a significant victory for songwriters.

However, the hard-fought win is now under threat as Spotify, Amazon, Google and Pandora have filed notices to appeal these rates. Apple has decided not to appeal. If Spotify and the other streaming services are successful with this appeal, it may result in a reduction in the royalty payments that songwriters will receive from the streaming services. As a result, the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) has announced that it will also file an appeal but will withdraw that appeal if the services do the same.

I am incredibly disappointed that Spotify and the other companies have chosen to attack songwriters by appealing the long-overdue rate increases. The move flies in the face of everything that I have fought for on behalf of songwriters for fair-market rates. Songwriters are unquestionably the most important contributors to the success of the streaming services and deserve the benefits of the new rates that we worked so hard to achieve.

While Sony/ATV will work diligently and closely with the NMPA to protect these new rates, there are no more important or effective voices on this issue than those of songwriters themselves. I therefore urge you to make yourselves heard and to speak out against this appeal. At the same time, we will be sure to update you as events develop.


Martin Bandier
Chairman & CEO
Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Bandier’s comments follow those of NMPA chief David Israelite, who earlier this week issued a point-by-point “fact check” rebuttal specifically against Spotify’s blog post explaining their reasoning behind the appeal.


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Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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