Settlement may be in sight for US publishing royalties row


Right up front, the caveat here is that the disputes around mechanical royalties payments from streaming services may defy an attempt to reach a settlement that makes all parties happy.

So while the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) may well be on the verge of brokering a deal with Spotify that could in turn help its rivals sort out their publishing-licensing problems, that may not be the final word.

But yes, the NMPA. Digital Music News claims that the US publishing body could reach agreement as soon as this week on a settlement with Spotify, which would see the latter creating a ‘matching interface’ for songwriters and publishers to input their metadata and claim works; to pay any backdated mechanical royalties due; and then for that data to be shared with the Harry Fox Agency, and thus on to other streaming services. Spotify may also pay a $5m “one-time penalty” according to the report.

DMN has clearly been talking to the publishing association, with boss David Israelite furnishing some quotes. “NMPA has been engaged in negotiations over the failure by several digital music services to license and pay songwriters and music publishers appropriately,” he said. “I am hopeful that we can reach a just settlement that provides a framework for moving forward as business partners – as it should be.”

For now, the lawsuits keep on coming. Rhapsody is the latest to be targeted with a class-action suit filed by David Lowery, Victor Krummenacher, Greg Lisher and David Faragher.

As we’ve reported this month, Slacker Radio, Tidal and Google Play have also been targeted by lawsuits from publisher Yesh Music and musician John Emanuele. The key question: IF the NMPA reaches a settlement with Spotify, what will it mean for those other lawsuits? We sense more arguments ahead.

Now read: our breakdown of the original Spotify mechanicals lawsuits

Stuart Dredge

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