NMPA President Says Spotify Treats Songwriters Like Uber Treats Drivers: ‘Is One Better Than the Other?’

Uber & Spotify: An 'app'd' comparison?
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Uber & Spotify: An 'app'd' comparison?
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Uber & Spotify: An “app’d” comparison?

Are both tech giants abusing the people that make their businesses possible?

By opposing the Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) recent 44% increase on royalties for songwriters and publishers – the first in 110 years – Spotify, along with Pandora, Google, and Amazon have reportedly ignored the needs of the songwriting and publishing community.

Not one to mince words, NMPA chief David Israelite had warned all streaming music platforms not to oppose the CRB ruling.

NMPA [National Music Publishers’ Association] and NSAI [Nashville Songwriters Association International] fought hard to increase songwriter royalties by 44%+.

The digital music companies now have 30 days to appeal that ruling, and, in effect, declare war on songwriters.

Of all major streamers, Apple was the only one to support the royalty increase.

Going on the offensive against the CRB, and in effect, creating the worst public relations nightmare in its short history, Spotify poorly defended its CRB appeal.

The CRB rate structure is complex, and there were significant flaws in how it was set.

A key area of focus in our appeal will be the fact that the CRB’s decision makes it very difficult for music services to offer ‘bundles’ of music and non-music offerings.

The music industry, along with major songwriters and publishers, has largely lambasted the move.

Now, as Spotify continues to lose support among key players in the industry, Israelite has struck back.

What’s the difference between Uber and Spotify?  Nothing, really.

In a post published on Twitter, NMPA’s top boss went on the offensive against the streaming music giant once more.

Question: what are the differences between Uber and Spotify?  Both are tech cos (not transportation/music cos) [and] lose money.  Both went public and enriched owners while most important input (drivers/songwriters) struggle with low pay.  Is one better than other?  If so, why?

Uber, one of the world’s largest transportation network companies (TNC), launched its initial public offering on Friday.  Yet, things didn’t exactly go well for the company.

Following massive protests against its decreasing payouts for drivers across the United States, Uber priced its IPO at $45 per share.  Despite seeing early gains, the TNC ultimately closed well below its launch price.  Currently, on the company’s second day of trading, Uber shares have sunk below $40.

Continuing on his criticism of Spotify, Israelite explained that the streaming music giant – like Uber – ultimately profits off the hard work of its drivers (or in this case, songwriters and publishers).

Responding to a tweet stating that music creators can pull their music off streaming platforms at any time, NMPA’s top boss explained,

Respectfully, that’s not true for songwriters and music publishers.  We live under a compulsory license.  We can’t ‘pull’ our music off Spotify.  Spotify can use our songs whether we agree on a price or not.  I think you’re confusing artists/record labels with those I represent.”


Featured image by David Israelite.