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STIM replies to Swedish songwriters about streaming royalty concerns

By | Published on Wednesday 25 February 2015


The Swedish music publishing sector’s collecting society STIM has responded to that previously reported open letter signed by 133 songwriters from the country which expressed various concerns about streaming royalties, and the deals done between the music rights sector and the digital platforms. On the publishing side of music rights the collecting societies have been involved in licensing services like Spotify.

The Swedish society received some criticism in the songwriters’ letter, over both the deals it did with the streaming services at the outset, and the lack of transparency on digital dealings. But in its own open letter, STIM says that it works continuously to ensure more transparency in music licensing matters, adding that “openness towards our associates is the only way to preserve our legitimacy”.

On streaming royalty figures that have been mooted, the society says that some percentages being bandied about are misleading, and that streaming services are paying, on average, about 12% of their Swedish revenues to STIM. This conflicts with a 3% figure in a study cited by the songwriters. STIM says there might be some confusion there because that study was based on US deals.

Or it could be that the 12% is often split between the mechanical and public performance elements of the copyright (so if an equal split that’s 6% each). The songwriter’s royalty, often half of that income, will then often be paid in two chunks, mechanicals via their publisher (subject to contract) and public performance direct from their collecting society. The latter of which would be about 3%.

But how knows what’s going on? Though STIM says it’s pretty certain its deals with digital services are in line with those done by other European collecting societies, and that “it is clear that the legal digital music services in Sweden have contributed to a positive development in terms of willingness to pay for recorded music”.

Yeah, not sure that’s going to silence the songwriters who, as previously reported, are becoming much more vocal about digital royalties of late.

Here’s the STIM response in Swedish. MusicAlly has translated chunks here.