The National Music Publishers Association and the Nashville Songwriters Association International have moved to block Sony Music Entertainment from participating in the new round of Copyright Royalty Board proceedings. After setting webcasting rates for the 2016-2020 period, the CRB will next consider mechanical royalties that will apply to interactive music services for 2018-2022.
The groups argue that mechanical rates are not of significant interest to labels, and thus Sony should not be allowed to intervene on behalf of digital music companies. The CRB process will include rates for CDs, downloads, and ring tones, which would be more directly linked to Sony’s business, but the NMPA and NSAI claim that Sony should not be permitted to lobby on the rates for interactive streams and locker services.
“Songwriters are up against more obstacles than ever to make a living, and having a major label like Sony fight on the side of digital music companies to try to further reduce what little income they receive from on-demand streaming is shocking,” NMPA CEO David Israelite said.
Sony has already disputed the NMPA/NSAI motion. “We think it is important to be at the table since we work so closely with songwriters – many of whom are our artists,” a company representative said. “We want the rates to be both fair and flexible so that all new models can thrive and create a healthy future for the overall music industry.” Sony did not file a petition to participate in the proceedings, but the RIAA did list it, along with the other two major labels, as interested parties.