Spotify fields $150 million class-action lawsuit over unpaid royalties

By Shawn Knight
Dec 29, 2015
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  1. Spotify is ending 2015 on a sour note (no pun intended). David Lowery, the frontman for American alternative rock band Cracker, and American rock band Camper Van Beethoven have filed a class-action lawsuit against the streaming outfit to the tune of (again, no pun intended) $150 million according to a report from Billboard.

    The plaintiffs, through the law firm of Michelman & Robinson, LLP, allege that Spotify knowingly, willingly and unlawfully distributes copyrighted works without obtaining the necessary licenses.

    The complaint further claims that Spotify is well aware of its misdeeds and has even created a reserve fund that sources say consists of up to $25 million to pay royalties to copyright holders that come after them over unpaid royalties. Spotify said in a recent blog post that when a listener streams a track for which the rightsholder is not immediately clear, they set aside the royalties owed until they are able to confirm the identity of the rightsholder.

    The plaintiffs are seeking at least $150 million in damages, claiming the use of their songs causes substantial harm and injury to copyright holders and diminishes the integrity of the works.

    The law firm expects more than 100 additional members to join the fight, thus granting the suit class-action status. The lawsuit was filed in the Central District Court of California on December 28.

    Permalink to story.

  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +2,164

    Unfortunately this may be a legitimate complaint. I'm familiar with at lease one artist whose music has been featured on Spotify without the proper consent. It was eventually removed, but not before seeing a lot of action.
  3. umbala

    umbala TS Addict Posts: 160   +132

    Oh musicians, they're just like professional athletes; always wanting more. Are you sure $150 million is enough? I think your crappy music is worth waaay more than that!

    Homer: You know, Mr. Burns, you're the richest guy I know. Way richer than Lenny.
    Mr. Burns: Oh, yes. But I'd trade it all for a little more.
    RebelFlag and wastedkill like this.
  4. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Addict Posts: 269   +138

    The labels are the problem. The streaming services are not the problem.
    wastedkill likes this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,372   +2,164

    The financial difference between a musician and an athlete is the difference between a bottle of wine and a vineyard.

    Yep. Labels aren't going to be giving up their contract terms any time soon, though.
  6. wastedkill

    wastedkill TS Evangelist Posts: 1,373   +310

    Difference between labels is labels rip off artists whilst athletes try ripping off competitors.
  7. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 797   +217

    No, it isn't really, the majority of athletes make very little compared to the stars of the sports (just like in music). Even in the NFL the amounts are radically different with the top end earning $30-40 million and (even though a lot) rookies get around $420,000 a year. But the NFL is like being signed by a major label and the people who don't play for the NFL (Arena Football) might not even break $800 a game and supplement their game money with other jobs. Here is a link showing some numbers people seem to forget that you only hear about the top athletes and not the HUNDREDS who don't get paid like them.

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