Songwriter Royalties from Spotify, Apple Music to increase nearly 44%

Songwriter Royalties mechanical royalty rates from streaming—royalties paid out to songwriters and publishers, as distinct from those paid out to performers—will increase by nearly 44 percent over the next five years. This comes as a result of a ruling from the United States Copyright Royalty Board after hearings that were held from March through June of last year.

Currently, 10.5 percent of streaming services’ monthly gross revenue is assigned to be paid to songwriters and publishers; the payouts are determined by the number of streams in that period. That will rise each year until it reaches 15.1 percent in 2022. This year, the rate will be 11.4 percent; it will be 13.3 percent in 2020, and so on.

This is great news as songwriters have been grossly underpaid in the new “Music Streaming” era. While the songwriter/publisher advocates weren’t able to get a standard per stream rate, this is still a big win. Ever since the dawn of music download sites like the original Napster and streaming sites like Spotify, songwriters have struggled to match the income they previously earned from mechanical royalties of CD sales. Hopefully this is a step forward in the modernization of the new music industry and we look forward to more exciting news later this year. The “Music Modernization Act” is working its way through Washington’s political circles and is supported by such groups as the Songwriters Guild of America and Nashville Songwriters Association International.

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