Copyright Royalty Board raises mechanical royalties rate while Spotify launches an industry guidance website for new musicians

The Copyright Royalty Board has voted to set new rates for mechanical royalties for publishers and songwriters, raising the rate to 15.1%, applicable from 2018 through 2022. The U.S statutory board traditionally votes on rates every five years, with the decided upon rate being valid for five years until the board votes again. The last time the actual rates were changed by the board was in 2006, where they were set at 10.5%. Processes to update the rate have been underway since 2018. The initial proposal to raise the rate from 10.5% to 15.1% has faced a number of challenges, including a need for revision due to a procedural error. The proposal also faced backlash from streaming platforms who challenged the update. The new ruling by the Copyright Royalty Board also caps label revenue, while broadening their definitions of bundle sales.

The new ruling comes after increased scrutiny on the streaming industry, with streaming giants such as Spotify coming under fire recently for their low payout rates. Following protest action including the Justice at Spotify campaign launched by the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers, Spotify chose to make their royalties model transparent with the launch of their Loud & Clear web portal. 

Last week, the streaming giant launched a new website aimed to guide new musicians through the industry. Called In Focus, the website describes itself as ‘a music manager in your pocket.’ In Focus looks to connect artists with fans, facilitate the creation of music, educate artists on revenue, and provide inspiration. It is available for artists at all levels of their career, and includes advice from the Spotify for Artists team and stars such as Olivia Rodrigo and A$AP Rocky. More information can be found here.