Spotify, Amazon, and Pandora Want to Pay Musicians Even Less for Streams

A new filing to reduce streaming payouts by as much as five percent over the next four years has the backing of Spotify, Amazon, and Pandora.

According to a new report from Billboard, the streaming giants are entirely ignoring calls from musicians for a bump in pay with a proposal to cut royalties from 15.1% o 10.5% of their respective revenues. Their filing with The US Copyright Board would apply to payouts between 2023 and 2027 (a period known as Phonorecords IV to the UCP,) but harkens back to a rate not seen since 2018 (at the end of Phonorecords II,) when there was slightly less scrutiny for the fractions of a penny dished out per play by the streamers. And in the case of at least Spotify, they’re not waiting for approval. The steaming landscape’s biggest fish (with 165 million paying subscribers,) reportedly reverted back to the 10.5% royalty rate as soon as their filing hit an appellate court, where it’s currently being vetted even as organizations like the National Music Publishers’ Association (pushing for a 20% rate) and the Union of Musicians and Allied Workers (advocating for a cent-per-play,) continue to demand higher cuts.

One of the few DSPs not actively looking to cut their payouts is Apple Music, agreeing to simply run with whatever rate is determined by the judge overlooking the appeal, which is to say their streaming payouts will still be offensively low during the period in question, just not quite as low as those from the three aforementioned companies (Spotify and Pandora already occupying two of the three slots for worst-paying digital streaming services.)


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