Spotify has announced it overpaid songwriters and publishers in 2018 and is now seeking a refund.
Spotify spokesperson told Variety: “According to the new CRB regulations, we overpaid most publishers in 2018. While the appeal of the CRB decision is pending, the rates set by the CRB are current law, and we will abide by them—not only for 2018, but also for future years in which the amount paid to publishers is set to increase significantly.
“Rather than collect the 2018 overpayment immediately, we have offered to extend the recoupment period through the end of 2019 in order to minimize the impact of the adjustment on publishing companies.”
In early 2018, the Copyright Royalties Board mandated that royalty rates paid to songwriters in the U.S. for streaming would rise by 44% over the next four years.
The ruling was issued with a notice that streaming companies had 30 days to legally oppose the ruling if they wished.
Seizing on the offer, Spotify, Google and Pandora immediately appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to review the decision (which, expectedly, only added to the death match between music service providers and songwriters).
David Israelite, the CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, told Music Business Worldwide: “I find it so hypocritical for a digital service that is appealing the CRB decision to then take advantage of the parts of that decision that benefit it. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised.”