Spotify is currently facing legal troubles over alleged usage of certain musicians’ work without permission. The class action lawsuit was initially filed by David Lowery, a member of the Camper Van Beethoven’s band. If found guilty, Spotify will be smacked with a hefty fine of at least US$150 million (about RM645 million).
Lowery’s lawsuit alleges Spotify of “causing substantial harm and injury to the copyright holders”. Lowery went on to mention that Spotify has been illegally distributing some of his songs which include “King of Bakersfield” and “Almond Grove”. According to sources, Lowery will be backed by over 100 more musicians that are facing similar issues with Spotify.
Interestingly, according to Lowery, Spotify has known long before that it has several contents within its music streaming service that are hosted without adequate permission. Spotify rectifies this problem by keeping a reserve amount of cash from US$17 to US$25 million with the intentions of paying royalties to artists that haven’t been compensated properly.
In response, Jonathan Prince – Spotify’s global head of communications – said that Spotify is committed to repaying musicians and publishers for their content. However, Prince further clarified that Spotify was only reserving an amount of royalties until the rightful owners of certain contents inside Spotify come to claim them. Spotify does this because at times, the data given to it regarding the rightsholders were often incorrect or missing.
This isn’t the first time Spotify has been on the brink of legal trouble either. A few years ago, Spotify was sued by one of EDM’s biggest names, Ministry of Sound, for refusing to remove playlists that were created by users to mimic its albums. The issue was then mutually resolved without any legal proceedings. Interestingly, about a week ago, Spotify said in a blog post admitting that it is facing problems managing royalty payments to musicians. Hopefully, Spotify can avoid the hefty fine by resolving the issue one way or another.