So far, 2016 is shaping up to be a rough year for Spotify. Just before New Year’s, the company was hit with a $150 million class-action lawsuit alleging unpaid mechanical royalties (It’s technical, but I spell it out best I can here.) Now there’s a second suit that pursues many of these same claims. From Billboard:
A class-action lawsuit recently filed against Spotify by Michelman & Robinson, LLP on behalf of Cracker frontman and college professor David Lowery will soon have company, Billboard has learned. The law firm of Gradstein & Marzanno — itself in the midst of litigation on behalf of the Turtles against Sirius XM and Pandora — will file its own class-action suit.
This new suit will make similar claims as Lowery and Michelman’s, alleging that the subscription service is not fully licensed for some of the music it offers subscribers, and that the company is not issuing complete royalty payments. One source counters that additional lawsuits won’t add to Spotify’s problems because the company’s potential liability remains the same regardless. As well, class-action lawsuits are difficult to implement and maintain, especially in instances where similar suits are ongoing in parallel. The law firm was unavailable for comment.
Two suits are bad enough, but it could get worse as the major labels could decide to jump in with their own suits as a way of turning the screws on future licensing negotiations. And Spotify is not alone. A lot of these issues could touch Apple Music, Rhapsody, Amazon Prime and what Pandora inherited with Radio.
Further reading at Music Business Worldwide. Meanwhile, if you’re a Canadian artist, make sure your music is registered with the Canadian Music Reproduction Rights Association. It’s their job to send out invoices to the streaming music services on behalf of their clients. Without them, there’s an excellent chance your music is getting streamed and you’re not getting paid.