Music streaming services, like Apple Music and Spotify, could be set to raise subscription prices, following the decision to increase royalties for songwriters and music publishers.
Earlier this year, a federal copyright board raised the music streaming royalties for songwriters and music publishers by more than 40 per cent to narrow the financial divide separating them from recording labels.
The decision stemmed from a long-running dispute that pitted songwriters against steadily growing music streaming services sold by Spotify, Apple, Google, Amazon and Pandora.
The Copyright Royalty Board’s decision will require those services to pay 15.1 per cent of their revenue to the songwriters and publishers, up from 10.5 per cent.
The music publishers association hailed the ruling, stating that it represents ‘the most favourable balance in the history of the industry’.
None of the major companies affected by the new music streaming royalties have confirmed whether the shift will prod any of them to raise the prices paid by consumers.
The popularity of music streaming services has soared in the past few years as more consumers have embraced paying a monthly or annual subscription fee for unlimited access to tens of millions of songs instead of incrementally buying a more limited amount of music on CDs or in a digital download.
Those changing habits have pushed artists, songwriters and publishers to step up their efforts to get a larger cut of the royalties generated from music streaming – a format that didn’t even exist when some performers signed their last record deals years ago.
The Copyright Royalty Board drew up the new rates for songwriters and publishers after hearing evidence during a trial held in 2017.