Sony Music settles with US publishers following streaming rates spat

Sony Music Entertainment has signed a deal with US publishers which resolves issues – and quells bad blood – over proposed new statutory mechanical royalty rates from 2018-2022.

The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA), the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) and Sony Music Entertainment (SME) have filed a joint agreement with the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) concerning the ongoing rate proceedings for mechanical royalties payable under Section 115 of the Copyright Act for the period between 2018 and 2022.

Similar to NMPA’s previously announced settlement with record labels Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group, the agreement includes a roll-forward of rates covering physical products, digital downloads, and ringtones.

Most importantly, SME has agreed to will withdraw its input from the section of the proceedings regarding on-demand streams. Additional terms were not disclosed.

Sony’s participation in the on-demand stream rate consideration has caused consternation amongst publishers, with the major being accused of following a label-led agenda to reduce songwriters’ potential share of streaming payouts.

“Sony Music and the music publishing community value their relationship.”

Joint statement

David Israelite, CEO of the NMPA (pictured), previously accused Sony of “fighting on the side of digital music companies to try to further reduce what little income [songwriters] receive from on-demand streaming”.

He was backed up by the NSAI, who wrote in a stinging open letter to Doug Morris: “It appears that Sony does not value the contribution from, nor the relationship with, songwriters as much as other record labels.”

Thankfully, such disharmony is now behind the industry.

In a joint statement commenting on the deal, NMPA, NSAI and Sony Music said, “The parties are pleased to have reached a mutually beneficial settlement in this matter.

“Sony Music and the music publishing community value their relationship, and as the music marketplace continues to evolve it is more important than ever that the music community stands united to demand fair market pay for songwriters and artists from all digital music services.

“We look forward to working together to pursue that shared objective.”

Sony Corp is now the full owner of Sony/ATV Music Publishing as well as record company Sony Music, following a $750m deal with the Jackson Estate earlier this year.Music Business Worldwide

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