The gloves are off now as the world’s largest music publishers are gearing up for a major fight against Spotify.


The music streaming site has for some years been widely criticised for the pittance royalty rate it pays to artists and now it really has taken one step too far as last week, their attorneys decided that the reproductive mechanical license doesn’t apply to streaming services.

In a nutshell, this means that the pittance royalty rate is now zero as Spotify have said they owe nothing to artists but thankfully, National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) CEO David Israelite is challenging this.

The NMPA represents all of the major music publishers including Universal Publishing Music Group, Warner/Chappell and Sony/ATV and yesterday Israelite emailed Digital Music News with a very straightforward declaration of the next steps. Here’s his statement in full:

“Per your reporting on the Spotify situation:

1. This is now a fight with all songwriters – not just a conflict with these particular plaintiffs. NMPA will be engaging in the manner and the terms of our choosing, but the one certain thing is we will win this fight.

2. Spotify’s ridiculous argument that it does not owe royalties for mechanical reproductions spits in the face of every songwriter that has made Spotify’s business even possible. This has been a settled legal issue for over 10 years. In two previous legal settlements. In the legal filings of Spotify in the Copyright Royalty Board. In the business practices of Spotify and all interactive streamers. And, in the public statements of Spotify’s own employees. If Spotify does not withdraw this offensive and baseless claim, it will become public enemy number one to the entire songwriting community.

David Israelite
President & CEO
National Music Publishers’ Association”

There is no information on what this challenge means for earlier, signed mechanical licensing settlements but Digital Music News say those settlements were “decried as a bargain by mega-publishers”. They add that: “Israelite has countered that everyone was happy with the settlement — but that was before he took the gloves off.”

We are urging all music fans to boycott Spotify and not use their ‘services’ until this matter is resolved as their business model is effectively based on blatant theft from the artists who create the music we love.

We will be watching developments on this matter closely and keeping you up to date. In the meantime, please help keep music alive by not using Spotify.

Sleeve Notes

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