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Nashville City Council Sides With Songwriters Against Streamers’ CRB Appeal

Nashville city leaders have sided against the streaming services Amazon, Spotify, Google and SiriusXM/Pandora in the appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision that would give songwriters a pay raise.

The Nashville Metro Council adopted the resolution as part of its consent agenda earlier this week, although the move is “purely symbolic” and the streamers are under no obligation to respond, according to The Tennessean, which also points out that the resolution comes shortly after the council voted to give $17.5 million in incentives for Amazon to move a corporate hub to the city.

Earlier this year, Councilman Jeff Syracuse opposed that incentive package based on the CRB appeal, telling the paper, “It’s been interesting to watch, not only have the federal laws impacted songwriters’ ability to make a living, but here in Nashville with the issue of affordable housing and overall cost of living, they’re getting hit on two sides,” said Syracuse, who works in the licensing division of BMI’s Nashville office. “For Amazon, this streaming service is a drop in the bucket of their overall business. I could not in good conscience vote for a taxpayer-funded job incentive when Amazon’s stance on streaming rates is not in favor of the job of songwriters.”

In March, the four streaming services — notably minus Apple Music — appealed the CRB’s 2018 decision to increase payouts to songwriters by 44%, unleashing a wave of outrage from the songwriting and publishing community.

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