While supportive of much of the copyright reform recently put before congress, including the Classics Act and the AMP Act, David Lowery outlines some of the reasons behind his distaste for the Music Modernization Act.
Guest post by David Lowery of The Trichordist
David Israelite of the NMPA and Mitch Glazier of the RIAA have penned an op-ed for Variety Magazine, in which they extoll the virtues of various copyright reform proposals before congress. While I agree with them on the Classics Act (fixes pre-1972 loophole) and AMP Act (helps producers/engineers receive royalties from digital royalty streams) every day I find myself liking the MMA less and less.
Perhaps it’s because the folks pushing it come out with idiotic statements like this:
“Streaming services have been sued multiple times by music creators who have not been paid properly, preventing them from fully investing in the potential of their platforms”-Israelite/Glazier
That’s right litigious songwriters have prevented streaming platforms like Spotify from investing in their platform. Yup, in 2011 Spotify et al talked to a magic future-predicting genie who told them they should save their money because starting in 2016 they would be sued by songwriters. Makes sense.
I guess that’s why upon launch in 2011 they didn’t build any sort of system to license and pay royalties to independent songwriters. And thats why they paid obscenely low royalties right from the start. Conserving money! Our future lawsuits made them pay shitty and infringe in the past! Whoah! It’s all quantum mechanics and shit!
We independent songwriters can relate. While we were not being paid royalties we were also unable to “invest in our platforms.” You know housing, food, transportation, childcare, healthcare etc. Must have been really tough on Spotify, and they have to cover that 30 million dollar a year lease on their offices in the World Trade Center.
And now here come the NMPA and RIAA to save the day. While we appreciate their attention to matters, songwriters should ask themselves a couple questions:
What were the NMPA, RIAA (and their lapdogs AIMP, and AI2M) doing 2011-2016 while streaming services were failing to pay large numbers of member/songwriters?
Absolutely nothing. Jack shit. Diddly squat. Nada. Nothing. Nishto. Zilch. Nani mo. Méiyǒu.
Why are streaming services now willing to sit down and bargain on songwriter pay?
Cause we sued the fuck out them.