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Resolution RS2019-1688

A resolution requesting that digital music streaming platforms refrain from any appeal of the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board’s 2018 ruling increasing revenue shares for songwriters.

WHEREAS, among modern challenges faced within the music industry, the advent of digital streaming services has significantly diminished the revenues and royalties earned by songwriters whose royalties were strictly based upon a percentage of each streaming service’s revenue; and

WHEREAS, according to the Nashville Songwriters Association International, the number of professional songwriters earning a healthy primary income from current song activity has gone from a few thousand to a few hundred in the streaming era; and

WHEREAS, on January 27, 2018, the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board issued a ruling increasing the amount streaming companies must pay songwriters by nearly 44%, increasing total revenue shares from 10.5% to 15.1%; and

WHEREAS, this increase in songwriting rates rectified a decades old disparity in the equitable distribution of royalties, eliminated artificial caps and limitations to which the writer rates had been subjected, and offered a much-needed boon for Nashville’s struggling professional songwriter community; and

WHEREAS, to its credit, at least one company providing digital music streaming -- Apple, Inc. – publicly conceded that the then-prevailing royalty rate structure was “too complex” and “economically unsound” and even advocated for a single per-play rate applied uniformly for all services; and

WHEREAS, despite the much heralded ruling from the Copyright Royalty Board, various streaming providers -- including Amazon, Spotify, Google, and Pandora -- have announced their intent to appeal the decision of the Copyright Royalty Board to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit; and

WHEREAS, because Nashville is home to thousands of songwriters, maintains unrivaled leadership in the music industry, and is rightfully designated as “Music City, USA”, it is fitting and proper that the Metropolitan Council request that Amazon, Spotify, Google, and Pandora refrain from any appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board ruling, which if upended, would cause enormous and substantial harm to the health of the music industry.


Section 1. That the Metropolitan Council of Nashville and Davidson County hereby goes on record as requesting that Amazon, Spotify, Google and Pandora refrain from any appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board’s 2018 decision to increase the amount paid to songwriters by streaming services.

Section 2. This Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of The Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.


Jeff Syracuse

Related Documents

Legislative History

Referred toRules, Confirmations, and Public Elections Committee

IntroducedApril 16, 2019

AdoptedApril 16, 2019

Returned Unsigned by the MayorMay 9, 2019

Effective DateMay 9, 2019

Requests for ADA accommodation should be directed to the Metropolitan Clerk at 615-862-6770.

Last Modified: 05/10/2019 12:16 PM