Spotify’s decision to publicly oppose the Copyright Royalty Board’s (CRB) 44% songwriter royalty increase has created a PR nightmare for the company.
Top music industry executives, publishers, and songwriters have spared no words in slamming the music streaming giant.
Vowing to defeat Spotify’s CRB appeal, Warner/Chappell wrote in a public letter to the industry,
“The National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and other trade bodies, of which Warner/Chappell is a member, are being very vocal in their opposition to this appeal.
“As such, we will vigorously seek to protect the value of music and passionately promote the rights of songwriters.”
On Twitter, influential music exec Irving Azoff wrote,
“Apple understands they’re in the artist business. Clearly, Google, Pandora, Spotify, and Amazon don’t.”
Justin Tranter, who has written songs for Ariana Grande, Fall Out Boy, Justin Bieber, 5 Seconds of Summer, and Gwen Stefani, said,
“Without songs, these tech companies have nothing to stream/sell. Shameful.”
Others took a more direct approach, like notable music lawyer Dina LaPolt.
“Spotify, you cheap pieces of s—t. F—k you and your secret bulls—t Genius awards. You should be ashamed of yourselves.”
Finally, in a united front, the songwriting community – including Ali Tamposi, Frank Dukes, Teddy Geiger, Babyface, and Nile Rodgers – penned an open letter to Spotify CEO Daniel Ek.
“We’re hurt and disappointed. You created a songwriter relations team and ingratiated Spotify into our community…You have used us and tried to divide us but we stand together…
“WE all create the ONE thing you sell – songs….
“Do the right thing and drop your appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board rate determination.”
Oblivious to the criticism, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek explained the royalty increase would ultimately hurt consumers. Defending the company’s much-maligned feud with the CRB, he added Spotify won’t ever change its position.
“We think $10 a month is a very, very cheap and an amazing proposition. But the amount of people who wake up in the morning thinking, ‘Hey, I want to like pay $10 a month for music’ isn’t as great as most people would believe.”
Stating over 30,000 artists now make a wonderful living off of Spotify – as well as songwriters – Ek later added,
“I don’t know what the number is now but it’s far greater. Even on Spotify itself, it’s far greater than [30,000+ artists].”
Now, Spotify’s public feud with songwriters has claimed its first victim.
Adieu, Adam Parness.
Spotify’s Global Head of Publishing, Adam Parness, has resigned. He’ll officially leave the company on June 3rd.
Parness had joined the company two years ago, previously serving in publishing relations roles at Pandora and content acquisition at Amazon. He reportedly led efforts at Spotify to add songwriter and producer credits.
Parness’ abrupt departure may not be the only casualty of Spotify’s bitter feud with songwriters. An unnamed senior US publishing executive lamented,
“It feels like all of the people who took care of music publishers at Spotify are jumping ship.
“Adam was a true champion of music publishers in that company. He will be sorely missed.”