Songwriters & Music Publishers Due Nearly $400M in Streaming Payments

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During the Phono III blanket license period (2021-2022), digital service providers such as Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Music, and Pandora reportedly underpaid rights holders by $419.2 million, with $281 million from mechanical royalties and $137.8 million from performance royalties. However, these providers overpaid publishers for mechanical royalties by $28.8 million during the Phono III historical unmatched period (2018-2020), reducing the total bonus owed to songwriters and publishers to roughly $390.3 million. The MLC (Mechanical Licensing Collective) expects adjustments to increase by another $10 to $15 million after the review of past payments. The underpayments were due to final rates being higher than interim rates during the four-year royalty dispute between publishers and streamers.

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