New Legislation Could Help U.S. Musicians Negotiate “Fairer Rates” With Streaming Platforms

An update to the Protect Working Musicians Act, initially introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2021, could help independent musicians negotiate “fairer rates” with streaming platforms, according to Billboard.

Updated by Rep. Deborah Ross of North Carolina, HR5713 would allow artists to collectively bargain with platforms like Spotify and Apple Music for improved royalty rates if passed.

Currently, artists risk violating antitrust laws if they attempt to negotiate.

The bill’s collective bargaining component would also help artists protect their original works as AI-generated music and its impact on human creators grows increasingly relevant.

In an interview with Billboard, Ross said, “AI threatens the creator – finding the person or entity that has co-opted your work and turned it into something else and then going after them is so onerous.”

“That’s one of the reasons for this bill – to allow people to do this collaboratively,” she continued.

The bill’s concentration on AI stems from the recent virality of AI-deep faked songs like “Heart On My Sleeve,” which mimics the voices of Drake and The Weeknd and has led to increased discussion about the rights of human creators, as the music industry decides how to incorporate the new technology.

In a tweet posted on Tuesday, Ross wrote, “This bill will protect NC’s outstanding artists who play a vital role in our state’s culture & economy.”

According to a report from Ditto Music earlier this year, Spotify only pays artists between $0.003 and $0.005 per stream and takes 30 percent of revenue. The company was scrutinized in March for docking royalty payments when artists chose to opt in for the platform’s Discovery Mode feature.

Spotify contends that removing these royalty payments is a fair trade for exposure gained by artists as a result of their algorithm. Just last week, Spotify began offering artists the chance to pay to be featured on the platform’s homepage.

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Written by
Peter Volpe

Journalism student at The Ohio State University who loves beeps and boops!

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