Updated! Streaming Price Bible w/ 2016 Rates : Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, Tidal, Amazon, Pandora, Etc.

The last time we did this was back in 2014, so we thought it was time for an update. Not a lot of surprises but as we predicted when streaming numbers grow, the per stream rate will drop. This data set is isolated to the calendar year 2016 and represents an indie label with an approximately 150 album catalog generating over 115m streams. That’s a pretty good sample size. All rates are gross before distribution fees.

Spotify was paying .00521 back in 2014, two years later the aggregate net average per play has dropped to .00437 a reduction of 16%.

YouTube now has their licensed, subscription service (formerly YouTube Red?) represented in these numbers as opposed to the Artist Channel and Content ID numbers we used last time. Just looking at the new YouTube subscription service numbers isolated here, they generate over 21% of all licensed audio streams, but less than 4% of revenue! By comparison Apple Music generates 7% of all streams and 13% of revenue.

Speaking of Apple, they sit in the sweet spot generating the second largest amount of streaming revenue with a per stream rate .00735, nearly double what Spotify is paying. But, Spotify has a near monopoly on streaming market share dominating 63% of all streams and 69% of all streaming revenue. The top 10 streamers account for 99% of all streaming revenue.


To put this list in the context of our 2014 numbers we’re adding the chart below with the data sorted by the quantity of streaming plays required to match the revenue of a single song or album download. This is important as we work towards defining and setting a fair per stream rate and also setting an accurate economic equivalent of streams to songs and albums for the purposes of charting.

Billboard currently calculates 1,500 streams to one album for the purposes of charting, which at current streaming rates actually matches an economic equivalent. However, that is most likely a highly excessive numbers of plays to achieve that economic equivalent. But, more on that later…

Keep in mind every streaming service has a key piece of data that would allow artists and labels to set a fair per stream rate. Every on demand streaming service, Apple, Spotify, Tidal, Google Play all know how many times a song is played (per person) on average over time. This is the data that is key to setting fair streaming rates. Who will share this information? Apple, Jimmy Iovine, we’re looking at you.


  • As streaming services only pay master royalties (to labels) and not publishing, the publishing has to be deducted from the master share to arrive at the comparable cost per song/album.
  • $.99 Song is $.70 wholesale after 30% fee. Deduct 1 full stat mechanical at $.091 = $.609 per song.
  • Multiply the above by 10x’s and you get the album equivalent of $6.09 per album
[EDITORS NOTE: All of the data above is aggregated. In all cases the total amount of revenue is divided by the total number of the streams per service  (ex: $5,210 / 1,000,000 = .00521 per stream). In cases where there are multiple tiers and pricing structures (like Spotify), these are all summed together and divided to create an averaged, single rate per play.]

[royalties][streaming royalties][music royalties][royalty rates]

Does Science Fiction Writer and EFF “Special Advisor” Cory Doctorow Profit from Corporate Music Piracy?



Cyber Fiction: Cory Doctorow and the rest of EFF are genuinely fighting for the rights of individuals, not to protect the profits of their corporate Silicon Valley benefactors.  Photo Author and Attribution  Ed Schipul under Creative Commons Share Alike 2.0 License.  

Cory Doctorow the Canadian science fiction writer, Boing Boing editor, and creepy grown up Disneyland enthusiast, is also a special advisor to the Google funded Electronic Frontier Foundation (the world’s first “progressive” anti-civil rights organization).   One of our colleagues recently noticed this product for sale in the Boing Boing store.  For $9.99 Boing Boing sells software it claims can rip ANY YouTube video presumably even illegally uploaded songs and movies from YouTube.  Yeah sure, we know there are plenty of sketchy websites that allow you to do similar things (and also infect your computer with malware).  But generally these sleazy websites don’t add insult to injury by charging a fee and NOT sharing it with the creators of the work.  Since Boing Boing sells this software in its store it is fair to assume that Boing Boing and hence Doctorow eventually get a cut.  Creators of the music or videos being downloaded?  Nada.

There is also the question of whether the software being sold by Boing Boing simply “records” the YouTube streams (an important legal distinction).   Over the last couple of years we have tested many of the so called “YouTube to MP3 converters “and they appear to simply  host the mp3s/mp4s  themselves, making these services indistinguishable from full blown illegal cyberlocker sites like Hotfile or Megaupload  The conversion from YouTube is completely fake, simply a ruse to hide the fact it’s really a cyberlocker.  The YouTube URL is only used to identify the track and seems intended to act as a MacGuffin for journalists. Reports show the Boing Boing software seems to make the conversion fairly quickly. This is pure speculation but I would wager at least even odds that this software sold by Boing Boing hosts or caches the most popular content on a “friendly” or commercially related server.   But why speculate.  I know we have enough tech savvy  readers out there to test this software.   Is a $100 bounty enough?

It’s bad enough that Google/Youtube (the 2nd wealthiest corporation on the planet” has built a music streaming service on illegally uploaded music. But now we have a Google lapdog seemingly profiting from this decidedly non-progressive activity. You’d think it would bother someone like Doctorow who left the UK simply because a Tory was elected.  But then again aren’t all progressives completely full of shit these days? The old cliche was conservatives shilling for big banks and tobacco companies, now it is the modern progressive shilling for technology companies. Anyway what’s the difference?  It’s the same old crony capitalist pay to play racket, they should all be taken down.

The fact that Doctorow continually dresses up his activities as progressive, vaguely revolutionary or for the benefit of “the public” only makes him more contemptible.

Here’s the software that Boing Boing is gleefully pitching

Screen Shot 2017-01-02 at 7.40.30 PM.png

Here is how it’s described on the Boing Boing website:

“YouTube is a massive video and music library, but its only significant flaw is that you need internet access to use it. Well, not anymore. With Softorino YouTube Converter, you can download and import YouTube videos directly into your iTunes, Mac or iPhone. No Wi-Fi? No problem. It’s as easy as copy and download, and all your favorite content will be readily available on your computer or mobile device in no time.

Import files to iTunes as MP3, MP4, or M4A w/o losing quality
Get automatic clipboard monitoring so you don’t have to paste a link–just copy it
Download from Facebook, Vimeo, Instagram, YouTube & more
Skip the ads when you watch offline
Transfer videos & music to your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch w/ ease
Watch or listen in high quality 4k, 1080p HD video & 192kb/s music”



GhostShip: Mourn the Dead: Fight Like Hell For The Living- Guest Post by Marc Ribot

Marc Ribot is an American Musician a member of NYC artists rights group MusiciansACTION http://musiciansaction.org/.   Photo by Webb Traverse at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


The initial horror evoked by Oakland’s GhostShip fire is now turning into self questioning and anger at those who placed the victims in harms way.

Yes, there will be individuals —landlords, inspectors, event organizers —held to account.

But the political context of this tragedy is that artists — not only musicians, but graphic artists, photographers and other content creators–have been placed in a condition of risk and precarity by Silicon Valley’s trashing of the copyright laws— a mass expropriation of value which turned what was once an important source of income into an expense for working artists.

Yes, marginal, new, and unsuccessful artists have long been precarious. But Silicon Valley’s implementation of a business model earning itself hundreds of billions via the ad based exploitation of copyright infringing work has marginalized an increasingly large number of working “content creators”, driving many into substandard housing, work spaces, and multiple jobs; and out of health insurance, safe housing, and sleep.

The geographically marginal location of the GhostShip lofts— in Oakland’s industrial zone, far from the nightlife centers of SF, is not only a metaphor, but a sign and

symptom of a wider and deeper phenomenon: the economic marginalization of working artists.

The GhostShip’s Oakland location — right across the Bay from the SV corporations which drove them into fatal precarity — is also more than metaphor. These artists were driven out of less precarious situations by rent increases. San Franscisco real estate has gone through the ceiling as a direct result of the huge wealth of Silicon Valley corporate execs, investors, financiers, and employees.

Rage at this Silicon Valley driven gentrification has been local news for almost a decade. Conflict between local residents and SV employees broke into violence over Google’s usage of public bus stops for their private busses. Leftists may not consider the local residents’ choice of an epithet (“dot.communist”) the ideal metaphor for evil, but it was meant to express the contempt Bay Area residents felt for the tech industry yuppies who drove them out of their homes and work places.

Working artists were by no means the only San Franciscans displaced. But added to the injury of artist displacement was the insulting knowledge that the money enabling their displacers had been generated by their own labor, expropriated via ad based profits on infringing files of their own work, files often posted and used without their consent or remuneration.

Silicon Valley propaganda outlets like the Google funded “Electronic Frontier Foundation” have long taken the position that the 60% collapse of the record industry caused by infringement was only hurting rich major record company exec’s, that somehow you could suck 7 billion a year out of an industry without hurting the working artists — and engineers, and indie label staff, and photographers/graphic artists/designers etc — who worked with them and lived off the sales of their music.

So now the precarity caused by these policies has hurt real people. And the only thing unusual about those hurt or killed in the GhostShip fire was that, unlike the hundreds of thousands of individual, isolated disasters caused by structural precarity, this hurt made national headlines.

Our personal disasters —the broken relationships of those working two jobs, or forced onto the road because that’s all that’s left, the deferment or avoidance of family due to poverty….the dislocations, evictions, foreclosures — will never be on CNN or Fox News. But we all know people, or are people, who have suffered them.

“Precarity” describes the social dimension of supposedly “natural” disasters: the increased risk of death, injury, and misery for those pushed to the social edge. The cause of death may be attributed to natural phenomena: fire, flood, earthquake. But the degree of risk is created

socially: politically, legally, economically. San Fransisco’s “Loma Prieta” earthquake of 1989 registered 6.9 on the richter scale and resulted in 63 deaths. The 2010 Haitian earthquake was a similar magnitude (7.0), but resulted in over 160,000 deaths. The earthquake didn’t kill: substandard housing did. It’s poverty, not nature, that places people in substandard housing. And it’s the lack of political rights and power that condemn populations to poverty.

The precarity pushing ‘content creators” to the social edge is entirely political, caused not by digital technology itself, but by:

1. the special privilege “Safe Harbor” clauses of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1997-98, which prevent artists from seeking damages from online corporations, even those, like YouTube, whose business model is based on the mass infringement of artists rights.

2. The 2ndary boycott provision of the Taft Hartley law which limits the target of “collective economic (ie: union) action” to the immediate direct employer (meaning that almost all corporate profiteering from ‘content’ is off limits to labor action by almost all producers of content).

Many people know that Taylor Swift withdrew her material from Spotify to protest its low rates of pay. Fewer

know that if Ms. Swift had asked other artists to join her, or the public to boycott, she could have been sued for everything she ever made or ever will make. And if a union had made that call on her behalf, they could have seen all their assets, including pension funds, seized, and their officers arrested and placed under gag order.

3. Reagan era court decisions limiting the scope of anti-trust law, even when corporations are clearly using their “monopsony” power to crush producers.

Rip, Mix, Burn

The february 2003 edition of Wired Magazine celebrated the death of the recording industry with a cover (referring to Charles C Mann’s accompanying “The Year The Music Dies” article) consisting of a famous graphic image of the Hindenburg disaster, in which hundreds of passengers were burnt to death in the ill-fated zepellin’s launching.*

This graphic image was accompanied by the text “Rip, Mix, Burn”, a slogan borrowed from an Apple campaign to both advertise their product as a tool for copyright infringement and rationalize the harm done to artists by presenting a for profit corporate campaign as anti-corporate direct action. Apple profited greatly from sales to consumers using their product precisely as suggested.

Wired’s advertisers are often tech corporations reaping similar profits.

The clear implication of Wired’s gleeful use of the Hindenberg disaster photo… is now obscene.

We now know that “the music” didn’t die in 2003. Musicians still make music (using similar technological tools to those in use since the 90’s). People still listen to the music musicians make. Their listening is still mediated by corporations, and still produces (now more than ever) profits for those corporations. Only now those profits aren’t shared by the people who produce them. This isn’t ‘creative destruction’, or ‘technological unemployment’: its exploitation pure and simple.

Thanks to the Safe Harbor clause of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and the 2ndary boycott provision of the Taft Hartley Law, content creators have been prevented from fighting this exploitation individually and collectively.

Denied legal means of fighting back, politically swamped by the massive lobbying power and social media manipulation of Silicon Valley corporations, artists have been pushed into economic precarity and risk.

As is so often the case with the violation of rights, violence against the body is the inevitable consequence.

M. Ribot

The author is a member of NYC artists rights group MusiciansACTION http://musiciansaction.org/.

@kayleighqueue: This Austin Nonprofit Is Changing the Way Local Musicians Get Paid — Artist Rights Watch

Austin’s Black Fret, a 501 (c) (3) public charity increasingly has made waves in the Austin music community for how it supports local talent. In just a few short years, Black Fret has given more than $280,000 directly to Austin artists, including rising stars Shakey Graves, Dana Falconberry, and Wild Child. Later this week, at their annual Black Ball, the organization will announce $200,000+ in grants—upwards of $5,000 for minor grants, $10,000 for major ones—that Black Fret will award to more than a dozen local musicians throughout 2017.

via @kayleighqueue: This Austin Nonprofit Is Changing the Way Local Musicians Get Paid — Artist Rights Watch

As We Predicted: Outlaw Librarian of Congress Violates Obama Administration Rules On Online Polls for Policymaking



Email from Library of Congress announcing online Survey Monkey Poll (Research.net is owned by Survey Monkey).   I was also able to submit a comment by “tunneling” to a machine with a non-US IP address. The comment above is a parody comment not my actual comment.   

December 16 the mother of all  “take out the trash Fridays”

Congress in recess?  Check.

Beginning of christmas holidays?  Check.

Therefore, Librarian of Congress releases policy-violating online poll to help select the new Register of Copyrights.

Why do these people make it so easy for us?  We timed our Trichordist stories for this week guessing the librarian would release the poll today.  Sometimes it sucks to be right.  But we were right.

So why did Librarian of Congress Dr Hayden (and  former Soros/Open Society Foundation board member) release the poll today when no one in DC is paying attention?

Violates Obama administration rules, guidance and federal law?

Cass Sunstein, then the Administrator of the Obama Office of Management and Budget, issued a memo in 2010 to the heads of executive branch departments and regulatory agencies which dealt with the use of social media and web-based interactive technologies.  He says this:

“[b]ecause, in general, the results of online rankings, ratings, and tagging (e.g., number of votes or top rank) are not statistically generalizable, they should not be used as the basis for policy or planning”

While the memo was widely seen as a “go ahead” to use social media for some purposes, the memo sternly reminds all agency heads that existing law is still in effect (footnote 2):

“2 Nothing in this Memorandum should be read to alter agency obligations under existing law, including the Administrative Procedure Act, the Privacy Act, and the Federal Records Act. Agencies should continue to comply with all applicable OMB memoranda when using web-based technologies, including but not limited to M-05-04, “Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites,” Information Quality Act; OMB Circular A-130 – Management of Federal Information Resources; Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996; and the E-Government Act of 2002. OMB also advises agencies to consider resource limitations, per 5 C.F.R. 1320.9(h), in the use of social media and web-based interactive technologies. In these and other areas, agencies shall comply with all applicable laws, regulations, and policies that pertain to privacy.
3 44 U.S.C. § 3502(3)(A).
4 See 44 U.S.C. § 3501.
5 5 C.F.R. 1320.3(h).”

Frankly this is all over my head, but I’m pretty sure if someone like Cass Sunstein says this is probably bad policy, I bet it’s actually illegal.

Recent history of hacked online polling and policy making.

In 2009 a Canadian Government consultation on copyright was hijacked.  Chris Castle detailed the entire fiasco in these two blogs.

100,000 Voters Who Don’t Exist

Canadians Slimed as Copyright Consultation Concludes

Even one of the shadowy organizations trying to hijack -er I mean influence- the consultation appeared to screw it all up, as the reliably pro-technology/pro-google Geist (Canada’s Lessig) was outraged that not all robotically filed comments were filed:


Earlier this year the US Copyright office public comment on the DMCA Safe Harbor was hacked by Fight For The Future (AKA Center for Rights in Action)  a group then run by Google operative Marvin Ammori and “progressive” NY Gubernatorial candidate Zephyr Teachout.   Fight For the Future posted EXACTLY 86,000 identical comments that were supposed to have come from real individuals.  They did this via a robot web form on their own website that then posted the comments to the Regulations.gov website.   Exactly 86,000. Does that seem curious to anyone? Not 86,017,  not 85,997 but exactly 86,000.  They even bragged to pro-piracy blog Torrent Freak that they had taken down a US government website.  How is that not an illegal DoS attack?  Naturally no one in the Obama administration bothered to look into what appeared to be a cyber attack by a 501 (C) 4 tax exempt non-profit on a government website.  See their tax form center-for-rights-in-action-990-fy14.    I’m busy maybe someone can ask the IRS about this?    Or AG State of Massachusetts about tax exempt status of organizations that commit possible cyber crimes?

If the past actions by technology astroturf organizations are any guide, we can expect this web form to be spammed and hijacked in a similar way.

See more of our coverage of Fight For The Future here:




(this one above really begs the question as to whether this organization deserves tax exempt status).



Also there is some nice additional coverage from Music Tech Policy over here

The Voting Dead: White House memo questions if anonymous comments can be used in making policy?


Must See: Google Transparency Project Posts the Google Freedom of Information Act Searchable Archive

The Google Transparency Project is the only collection of public unclassified information about the depth of Google’s government capture. Managed by the Campaign for Accountability, the GTP has provided the public, and particularly artists, with a breathtaking level of detail about just how much access to the levers of government power–and we assume control–that Google has enjoyed, particularly during the administration of President Obama. Now and for the first time there is an online searchable database of thousands of documents from dozens of government agencies involving Google

via Must See: Google Transparency Project Posts the Google Freedom of Information Act Searchable Archive — MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY

Trichordist Poll Results: New Register of Copyrights Should be Winged, Have Tooth Whistle, Launch Deep Sea Submersibles


Trichordist readers dutifully demonstrated what happens when you ask the internet to help LOC  chose a new Register of Copyrights. 

A couple of days ago we reported that Dr Hayden the new Librarian of Congress is evidently planning on using an online Survey Monkey poll to determine the “attributes” of the new Register of Copyrights.  We need a new Register of Copyrights because Dr Hayden in an apparent act of retaliatory constructive termination “reassigned” the last register to duties that included the Library gift shop, no joke.   We pointed out how this went terribly wrong when the UK asked the internet to name their new royal research vessel.   The internet named the new ship “RRS Boaty McBoatface.”

We conducted a similar poll and as predicted ended up with similar results.  According to Trichordist readers the three top attributes of a new Register of Copyrights?

  1. Winged. Scales or Feathers. Doesn’t have to be capable of sustained flight but should be able to flap themselves off the ground for a few seconds at a time.
  2. Has a crane capable of launching deep sea submersibles.
  3. Has a faint tooth whistle when speaking.  

But in all seriousness, we believe that selecting a new Register of Copyrights in this manner is not only reckless but likely be prone to fraud and abuse. Further it may very well go against US government rules on online polling and public comments.   Congress should look into this matter.




Librarian of Congress Names Boaty McBoatface New Register of Copyrights



Well not really.   But it might as well be Boaty McBoatface.  Word on the street is the Librarian of Congress intends to use an online Survey Monkey poll to select the “attributes” of a new Register of Copyright.  Perhaps one of the attributes of the new Register of Copyright should be he/she is  named “Boaty McBoatface?”    If you don’t know the Boaty McBoatface reference you have to read this article about the UK’s ill-fated attempt to allow the internet to name a new royal research ship.  (Spoiler alert! The internet named it Boaty McBoatface!)

Using an online poll to select the “attributes” of the Register of Copyright is not just a bad idea, at the very least it likely violates US rules on federal agencies soliciting of public comments.

How does the librarian ensure that the poll won’t be robotically “comment bombed” by Fight For The Future  (FFTF) an astroturf group run by Google operative Marvin Ammori?   Cause that’s exactly what FFTF did when the Copyright Office used a web form to solicit comments on DMCA “takedown” reform earlier this year.  EXACTLy 86,000 identical comments were filed by Fight for the Future.  Read  here and here:



How will the Librarian of Congress prevent multiple submissions even without the use of robots?

How will the Librarian of Congress verify that those making submissions are US citizens?

How do you keep it from getting hijacked by people with a sense of humor?

To illustrate this point here is our poll:





NY Times Op-Ed Blasts Political Favoritism in Antitrust Enforcement at Expense of Creators

In today’s NY Times,  Jon Taplin of USC notes the continuing lopsided antitrust enforcement by Obama administration (and previous Bush administration).   Traditional media companies (and also songwriters)  are held to much higher standards while politically connected Silicon Valley monopolies like Google and Facebook get a free pass.   This drives down revenues to creators while pumping billions of dollars into the pockets of the billionaires in Silicon Valley.   Facebook doesn’t even have  public performance licenses for music and is operating completely illegally in this regard. Meanwhile traditional media companies do have licenses.  It doesn’t get any more anti-competitive than that.  Does the DOJ antitrust division give a shit?  No.  This is blatant crony capitalism.  It is a form of economic warfare on creative workers and the middle class. If you scratch just below the surface you often find “revolving door” Silicon Valley lawyers leading the charge at DOJ.

“Google and Facebook can achieve huge net profit margins because they dominate the content made available on the web while making very little of it themselves. Instead, they both have built their advertising businesses as “free riders” on content made by others, some of it from Time Warner. The rise of these digital giants is directly connected to the fall of the creative industries of our country…

Every pirated music video or song posted on YouTube or Facebook robs the creators of income, and YouTube in particular is dominated by unlicensed content…

In the past decade, an enormous reallocation of revenue of perhaps $50 billion a year has taken place, with economic value moving from creators of content to owners of monopoly platforms.”


Dr. Hayden’s Library of Congress is Already Helping Big Tech Rip-off Creators Part 1: The Mass NOI Scam


Why is the Librarian of Congress letting the “mass NOI” scam continue? Is it because she has deep connections to at least one of the companies that financially benefits from the scam?

The apparent constructive termination of Maria Pallante the Register of Copyrights by the brand new Librarian of Congress has gathered a fair amount of coverage.   Including a Wall Street Journal Op Ed that notes that it has the appearance of being orchestrated by Google.  But this may just be the tip of the iceberg.    We believe there are at least two major scandals brewing that could make the retaliatory constructive termination investigation look like a walk in the park.   And of course both of these scandals seem to involve the new librarian giving Silicon Valley interests a free ride at the expense of creators.  I’m gonna break this into two parts.   Today we will look at the first of the two.

Librarian allows mass NOI filings that let Amazon and Google avoid paying mechanical royalties to songwriters

This is a pretty complex issue, and if it weren’t for Chris Castle at Music Tech Solutions, it may have taken publishers and songwriters years (if ever) to discover that Amazon and Google were “black boxing” songwriting royalties.  Here’s how it works:

If a digital service like YouTube or Amazon wants to stream music they must serve an NOI or “Notice of Intent” indicating they are going to use the music.  This is so the service can prove it knows who they are supposed to pay, and it alerts the songwriter that a service is using their music so they will know to expect royalties. It is the law!  However if a service like YouTube can legitimately not locate a publisher and/or  songwriter they can pay a small fee and file an NOI notice with the Copyright Office.   This was never supposed to be the main way for streaming services to license  songs.  It was supposed to be a last resort.   Services were expected to use best efforts, show good faith and file these notices only when they really couldn’t find the publisher.

However recently Google and Amazon have been electronically filing gigabytes of these “writer unknown/not found” notices with the Copyright Office.  A cursory inspection reveals that many of these notices are well known songs by well known writers.   And it is highly likely that Google and Amazon were already paying these writers.   As an example  Google has filed a a notice for Surfer Girl, one of the most well known songs by Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys.


Seriously?  Google Play surely has been paying songwriter royalties to Wilson’s publisher!  They shouldn’t be using this process to obtain a license. Why would they do this?

The first reason is it is a sleazy way of reducing expenses for Google and Amazon by essentially (illegally?) offloading the burden of accounting and tracking usage onto songwriters.   This is one of the richest companies on earth. They really need the money?  No.

The second reason is far more sinister.  Much the way Pandora and Sirius  tried to exploit a technical loophole in federal copyright law that allowed them to claim they didn’t have to pay royalties on pre-1972 recordings,  Google and Amazon may not be paying royalties on the songs for which they’ve issued these NOIs.  Here is what Chris Castle says about the NOI filings:

“I have been reliably informed that Google, Amazon and Music Reports among others are filing “millions” of “address unknown” NOIs with the Copyright Office based on a database that these companies are purchasing for tens of thousands of dollars from the Library of Congress (remember that the Copyright Office is under the jurisdiction of the Library of Congress). And by the way–once they file this NOI, they don’t pay royalties until the copyright owner can be identified in the records of the Copyright Office. Regardless of how easily the copyright owner could be found in other readily accessible databases.”

You get that?   Even if the writers can be identified in the BMI or ASCAP database, if for whatever reason the copyright office databases doesn’t show registration for the works,  Google and Amazon can stop paying.    Even if they already know the owner of the song!   What kind of people do this kind of shit?  While they may have some technical cover it’s just a jerk move.   To quote the Dude in  The Big Lebowski:

“You’re not wrong Walter, you’re just an asshole

So where does the Librarian of Congress fit in to all of this?

Well, frankly I missed this at first.   The Copyright office is housed within the Library of Congress, but it is NOT the Copyright Office that makes available the database that allows this ripoff, it’s actually the Library of Congress.   As Castle explains:

“If you have a recording you want to use, you need to clear the song. You take that song title from the recording and look it up in the Library of Congress data dump. If it’s not there, you file the “address unknown” NOI. Wash, rinse, repeat 1,000,000 times or more. See how that works?

As if by magic, you don’t have to pay mechanical royalties until the songwriter figures out what you have done by checking the NOI submissions page at the Copyright Office (assuming anyone knows it’s there or knows their song might be listed) and then…does what?”

Why is the Librarian of Congress letting this scam continue?   Is it because she has deep connections to at least one of the companies that financially benefits from the scam?

For full explanation read the 3 part  Music Tech Solutions blog on this topic.

Big Tech’s Latest Artist Relations Debacle: Mass Filings of NOIs to Avoid Paying Statutory Royalties (Part 1)

Big Tech’s Latest Artist Relations Debacle: Mass Filings of NOIs to Avoid Paying Statutory Royalties (Part 2)

Big Tech’s Latest Artist Relations Debacle: Mass Filings of NOIs to Avoid Paying Statutory Royalties (Part 3)