×

Hit Songwriters Slam Spotify’s Attempt to Lower Royalties: ‘You Have Used Us’

Nile Rodgers, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Greg Kurstin, Frank Dukes, Benj Pasel and Justin Paul, Mike Elizondo, Murda Beatz, Ross Golan and Teddy Geiger — who between them have collaborated with everyone from David Bowie and Aretha Franklin to Adele and Camila Cabello — are among the dozens of songwriters who slammed Spotify in an open letter released today over the streaming giant’s appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase royalty rates for songwriters.

While Amazon, Google and SiriusXM/Pandora also joined the appeal — which challenges the Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to increase the compulsory mechanical rates paid to songwriters by 44% over the next five years — the songwriters singled out Spotify, as it has attempted to deflect criticism over the appeal by mentioning its “Secret Genius” programs and awards, which are intended to promote songwriters, producers, engineers and other less-recognized people behind hit songs.

“We’re hurt and disappointed,” the songwriters wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Spotify chief Daniel Ek and posted on social media. “You created a songwriter relations team and ingratiated Spotify into our community. We know that you are not the only DSP appealing the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) rate determination. You are, however, the only provider that made us feel we were working to build a modern music industry together.

“Now, we can see the real reason for your songwriter outreach. You have used us and tried to divide us but we stand together,” the letter continues. “Our fight is for all songwriters: those struggling to build their career, those in the middle class and those few who have reached your Secret Genius level. But none of us are ‘secret!’ WE all create the ONE thing you sell… songs.

“Do the right thing and drop your appeal of the Copyright Royalty Board rate determination,” it concludes, before signing off as the “Not So Secret Geniuses.”

Read the letter in full below; a rep for Spotify did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.

More Biz

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full power of pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at lower east side Manhattan hotel The Orchid, rooftop bar Mr. Purple hosted Variety’s cover stars and luminaries for cocktails and the unveiling of the [...]

  • Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    UPDATED: The boy band O-Town briefly rose to fame in 2000, with a star turn on MTV’s reality series “Making the Band.” But the reformed group has just one obstacle to its efforts to trademark its name: Motown Recordings. The label’s parent company, Universal Music Group, is trying to block the band from registering “O-Town” [...]

  • Alyssa Milano

    Alyssa Milano Settles $10 Million Suit With Former Accountant

    Actress Alyssa Milano has settled a legal battle with her former accountant as the case was on the verge of going to trial. Milano and her husband, agent David Bugliari, filed suit in 2017, alleging that accountant Kenneth Hellie had forged her signature on checks, failed to pay overdue bills and taxes and allowed costs [...]

  • J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With

    J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With Longtime Manager Rebeca Leon

    J Balvin and his longtime manager Rebeca León have “amicably” parted ways, reps for the singer and León confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by Billboard. León — who also oversees the careers of fast-rising Spanish singer Rosalia as well as Colombian superstar Juanes, with whom she founded Lionfish Entertainment — began managing Balvin early in his career [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Headshot

    Warner Bros. Taps BBC Studios Americas Chief Ann Sarnoff as CEO (EXCLUSIVE)

    Warner Bros. has tapped BBC Studios Americas president Ann Sarnoff as its new CEO, a surprise pick that is sure to shake up the venerable studio. Sarnoff becomes the first woman to head Warner Bros. in its nearly 100-year history. She was under the radar during WarnerMedia’s search for a successor to lead the studio [...]

  • The Peanut Butter Falcon

    'The Peanut Butter Falcon,' 'For Sama' Win Top Awards at Nantucket Film Festival

    NANTUCKET, Mass. — Adventure drama “The Peanut Butter Falcon” and Syria documentary “For Sama” emerged as the top winners at the 24th annual Nantucket Film Festival. The festival, which concludes today, as ever put the emphasis on screenwriters and emerging talents. Director Paul Downs Colaizzo’s Sundance hit “Brittany Runs a Marathon” had a number of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content