Congratulations are due this morning to Joe Conyers III, the co-founder and general manager of publishing-royalties platform Songtrust. Well, he’s not GM any more: Conyers has been promoted to chief strategy officer.
“Now, after growing Songtrust’s internal capabilities, Joe has a clear lane to focus on longer-range planning and the company’s broader mission to empower songwriters and music publishers worldwide,” said co-founder Justin Kalifowitz.
One of Conyers’ new responsibilities will be handling Songtrust’s relationship with streaming services, including those who have launched an appeal against new songwriter-royalty rates set by the US Copyright Royalties Board. And yes, he has views on that appeal, as told to Variety yesterday.
“Obviously bundling is important, but I think they’re using this as a chance to try to sneak in a lot more rights — free-market negotiated things like lyric rights and video rights — than what they got in the first round of the CRB,” said Conyers. “They’re trying to get non-compulsory things into a compulsory license under a fixed rate. I’d be shocked if a judge agreed to it.” He went on to suggest that Spotify “is being hit hard by being a public company” (as one reason that service is appealing) “but we are already one of their lowest costs of content. These songwriters are not getting paid a ton of money”. He also offered one possible solution, albeit one that Spotify has so far resisted. “At some point someone is going to have to bite the bullet and raise prices. Their cost of content has to go up with inflation too.”