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Copyright Royalty Board Rejects Mechanical-Rate Freeze

April 2, 2022


The Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) has officially voted not to extend the longstanding mechanical royalty rate of 9.1 cents for physical formats and downloads, finding that a proposed settlement negotiated between the NMPA and the NSAI as well as the major labels “does not provide a reasonable basis for setting statutory rates and terms.”

The three-judge CRB – currently consisting of Chief Judge Suzanne Barnett, Judge David R. Strickler, and Judge Steve Ruwe – just recently voted against the mentioned settlement and, in turn, the continuation of the 9.1-cent mechanical rate per song (or 1.75 cents per minute of playing time, whichever is higher). Said mechanical rate applies to permanent downloads, vinyl, CDs, and “music bundles” alike.

Early March of 2021 saw the National Music Publishers’ Association (NMPA) and the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) jointly submit a “notice of settlement in principle” with the Big Three labels to the CRB, as part of the latter’s rate determination for the 2023-2027 period.

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