Meet the Man Who’s Going After Spotify in the Name of Artists

I’ve grown to know Jeff Price over the last couple of months. We’ve had some long conversations about what he and his company, Audiam, are trying to do not only for the artists they represent but even those they don’t represent. Now that there are two class-action suits against Spotify over unpaid mechanical royalties and unlicensed music, you may be hearing about Jeff a lot more. Get acquainted through this article from the LA Times.

Melissa Ferrick’s 150 songs have played about a million times on Spotify. But the 45-year-old independent artist says the popular streaming music service has shortchanged her by failing to fully license her songs.

The man bolstering Ferrick’s claims, laid out in a $200-million lawsuit, is music technology entrepreneur Jeff Price. The former record label owner has made a career out of helping artists get paid streaming royalties — and being a thorn in the side of Spotify and other music companies.

Ferrick hired Price and his New York royalty collection start-up Audiam last year while she was preparing to release her new album. Price pored over her pay statements and found she wasn’t getting royalties to which she was entitled. He later referred her to an attorney.

“I knew something was wrong, I just wasn’t exactly sure what it was,” said Ferrick, an indie rock musician from Massachusetts. “Jeff Price identified the problem. He’s extremely important.”

The brash 48-year-old has made a name for himself as an outspoken and controversial voice for aggrieved musicians in the digital age. He’s providing them with data to take on Spotify and other streaming services that are upending the music industry.

Price’s research plays an important role in the lawsuit Ferrick recently filed against Spotify, which has 75 million users worldwide and is valued at more than $8 billion. It’s the second lawsuit in a month seeking class-action status on behalf of musicians who allege the Swedish company has infringed on their copyrights. The first action was filed by alternative rocker David Lowery.

The cases highlight the broader debate over how artists are compensated as people buy fewer albums and increasingly get their music from on-demand services. Top acts such as Adele and Taylor Swift have resisted putting their new music on Spotify, taking issue with what they view as paltry royalties from its service.

“The poor songwriters of the world have been exploited and decimated and pilfered,” Price said in an interview. “They have been raked over the coals in ways you can’t even begin to imagine.”

I have a feeling that this whole issue is going blow up real good. Best school yourself on what’s happening–especially if you’re a musician with music on any streaming music service. Read on.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Meet the Man Who’s Going After Spotify in the Name of Artists

  • January 21, 2016 at 1:10 pm
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    I’ve been reading a lot about Spotify’s royalty payment issues, and it makes me wonder: do they not have anyone responsible for making sure the metadata is correct? Obviously this is a huge undertaking, and so deserves it’s own department at the company. I’ve reported incorrect artist/album info, and no one has changed any of it yet, so it seems like there isn’t anyone, or not enough people, on it.

    Reply

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