Spotify is ringing in the new year by being sued by songwriter, performer and artist rights advocate David Lowery for up to $150m.
This case is nothing new to Spotify, though. The streaming service has experienced lots of criticism from its artists, and even temporarily removed songs from indie label Victory Records.
Lowery’s case claims that Spotify “unlawfully reproduces and/or distributes copyrighted musical compositions…despite its failure to identify and/or locate the owners of those compositions for payment”. It also suggests that Daniel Ek’s company is “purposeful” in its intentions and that it is “Profiting off its own unlawful conduct”. Since this lawsuit applies for class action, it could allow other rights holders to join and demand money from Spotify.
On the other hand, Spotify spokesperson Jonathan Prince responded to the lawsuit saying that as a company, they are “Committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny”. He also cites the difficulties in obtaining the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rights holders.
Prince also implies that the timing of Lowery’s lawsuit is intriguing being that it was filed just days after Duffet-Smith announced on Spotify’s blog that the service is investing in its very own comprehensive global rights database for publishers and songwriters.
According to David Israelite, President of The National Music Publishers’ association, it is estimated that as much as 25% of royalties are not being paid to publishers by streaming services. Downtown Music Publishing CEO Justin Kalifowitz agrees with the absurdity in unfair payment to songwriters. Kalifwitz believes that “It’s inexcusable that [Spotify’s] assumed less than 80% of [due money] is making its way to songwriters and publishers because of data issues”.
We hope that the new database will sort out these issues in 2016.
For a more in-depth review of the latest lawsuit, head on over to MBW.