With Friends Like These: NMPA Mechanical Deal Cuts Songwriter Pay 6%-12%

According to Billboard Wednesday June 8th the National Music Publishers Association announced an agreement with two of the three major labels to hold mechanical royalty rates at 9.1 cents until 2022.

http://www.billboard.com/articles/business/7400362/universal-music-warner-music-nmpa-settlement-mechanical-sales-rate

While this may not seem like a big deal, it is. If you take into account inflation this amounts to somewhere between a 6% and 12% cut for songwriters based on a range of predicted inflation.   More than any other group in the music industry, songwriters have seen their revenue streams decimated during the transition to digital. Much of the blame for the reduction in revenue can be laid at the feet of the so-called “grown-ups” in the music industry. Time after time, the major rights holders and trade groups have agreed to deals that effectively make the pie smaller for songwriters.

Meanwhile I don’t see any of the executives taking pay cuts.

Further as part of the NMPA settlement WMG and UMG have agreed to sit out the upcoming Copyright Royalty Board hearings. Early it was announced that the two groups that represent “independents”  Merlin and A2IM will also sit out the proceedings. This leaves underpaid songwriters to fend for themselves at the CRB hearings against Rhapsody, SoundCloud, Spotify, Pandora, Omniphone, Google, Deezer, Apple, Amazon and the Digital Media Assn.

On top of this NMPA has now established a precedent that will allow streaming services to argue to the CRB that streaming mechanicals should be cut.

It’s time that songwriters hold David Israelite, the NMPA, A2IM and Merlin accountable for their actions. (Remember Merlin cut the deal with Pandora that ended up being evidence for the CRB ruling that cut rightsholders pay on non-interactive a billion dollars over 4 years see here: https://thetrichordist.com/2016/03/16/billboard-finally-agrees-the-pandora-merlin-deal-will-cost-rights-holders-a-billion-dollars-in-soundexchange-royalties/)

Is the Trichordist the only entity looking out for the interests of songwriters? And how the fuck did that happen?

 

About Dr. David C Lowery

Platinum selling singer songwriter for the bands Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven; platinum selling producer; founder of pitch-a-tent records; founder Sound of Music Studios; platinum selling music publisher; angel investor; digital skeptic; college lecturer and founder of the University of Georgia Terry College Artists' Rights Symposium.

2 thoughts on “With Friends Like These: NMPA Mechanical Deal Cuts Songwriter Pay 6%-12%

  1. I used to make a decent middle-income on the catalog but now I’m pressure washing driveways ….anybody need their driveway done? ranges between 40 and $60.

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