Spotify music publishing champion exits amid songwriter pay fallout

The music business was out in force in London today (May 23) for the Ivor Novello Awards, the UK’s premier songwriter and publisher awards event.

Every year the ‘Ivors’ are characterised by a celebratory mood amongst the songwriter and publisher community.

That was less true this year, however, when it came to one word: Spotify.

Spotify is not on the best terms with sections of the music industry after appealing against the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to raise US streaming royalties for songwriters (and music publishers) by 44%.

Now, MBW has learned that Spotify’s respected Global Head of Publishing, Adam Parness, has resigned from the company and will be leaving his role, effective June 3.

In a note sent to music publishers, obtained by MBW, Parness said it was “with mixed emotions” that he was exiting the streaming firm.

Tellingly, the ex-Pandora and Amazon exec noted that he joined Spotify in 2017 “in order to continue my career mission of advancing the livelihood of songwriters, artists, and producers”.

At Spotify, Parness played a key role in the industry-wide support for the signing of the US Music Modernization Act, and, internally, led the charge for the addition of songwriter and producer credits to Spotify’s platform.

“It feels like all of the people who took care of music publishers at Spotify are jumping ship.”

Senior publishing source

While it’s not clear at this stage where Parness is going after Spotify, a high-profile industry role is being rumored.

Commenting on Parness’s exit, one senior US publishing figure, speaking at the Ivors today, told MBW: “It feels like all of the people who took care of music publishers at Spotify are jumping ship.

“Adam was a true champion of music publishers in that company. He will be sorely missed.”


At the Ivors, Big Deal Music boss Kenny MacPherson lambasted Spotify from the stage over the company’s CRB appeal. “Remember that, as songwriters, you haven’t had a [US] raise for 110 years,” he said. “Fuck Spotify.”

The Spotify table was… quiet in response.

“Remember that, as songwriters, you haven’t had a [US] raise for 110 years. Fuck Spotify.”

Kenny Macpherson, speaking at the Ivors

It also didn’t go unnoticed that Spotify declined to take a congratulatory ad in the official Ivors program this year. Rival Apple, on the other hand, booked the first available page.

MBW’s US publishing source added: “Believe me, what Kenny said up there on stage was brave – but the way we’re all feeling right now, it was an understatement.”Music Business Worldwide

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