Spotify‘s music streaming business has been the subject of intense scrutiny over the last few months and it appears one part of that scrutiny is coming to a head. A class action lawsuit submitted by Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker’s David Lowery is seeking $150 million from Spotify for damages from “knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproducing and distributing copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses”. The lawsuit stems from Spotify’s policy of only providing royalties when it can identify who the royalties should go to – otherwise, the money goes into a “royalty bank” for when the copyright owner can be identified. In Spotify’s own words:

“We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny. Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete. When rightsholders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities. We are working closely with the National Music Publishers Association to find the best way to correctly pay the royalties we have set aside and we are investing in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem for good.”

Lowery is seeking up to $150,000 for each infringed song, so you can see how quickly this all adds up if Spotify is found guilty of intentionally withholding royalties. It does beg the question of whether more music streaming services are also guilty of similar charges, and if so, the outcome of this lawsuit could have far-reaching consequences for the industry.

What do you think about Spotify’s predicament? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Source: Billboard via TalkAndroid

3 Responses

  1. awdahelwidit

    Good. They deserve it. Should have followed the rules of licensing. The structure for residual payment to entertainers exists so scum like them don’t rip people off.

    Nice to see this criminal orgi

    • John Kiser

      The RIAA/MPAA are more like criminal organizations. The structure for residual payments exists, but is massively inflated for online streaming of ANY sort. They are not ripping people off. And oh no think of those poor poor multi millionaire starving artists *rolls eyes*

      If the labels do not make rights holders clear or tell them there isn’t a whole lot they can do about it, they set aside money until they are told. David Lowery should be glad he has ANYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY exposure out there considering his music / videos / and films are sort of yeah not that great. He thinks he deserves 150k PER song, that in and of itself is just outright pure greed there. If he had a problem contact spotify with himself or his label and provide legal documents. If there is a procedure in place to claim your copyright funds and you don’t use them that is on you. I think he should be smacked by a judge if he made no good faith effort to contact spotify about it first…

  2. John Kiser

    These people need to stop specifically targeting streaming. It’s basically unlimited revenue for them and I highly doubt 150k a song is anywhere near a “fair” amount… The current crop of musicians just keep continually coming off as greedy assholes more and more. Macklemore is one of the few people i have respect for how he is doing things. There is stuff setup by spotify, they are making a good faith effort to work with someone to indentify people, and this lawsuit is in large part warrantless given the circumstances. If a rights holder cannot be identified, it takes TIME to identify them.

    But then the music industry has in large part turned into a freaking show of who can be the biggest asshole so it really is no surprise in all honesty….


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