Spotify Is Being Sued Over Unpaid Royalties
As digital music streaming, and especially companies that provide the service on a subscription basis, continue to be a hotly-contested issue among artists and industry insiders, one of the biggest players has been hit with yet another challenge.
According to Billboard, David Lowery, the frontman of the band Cracker, has teamed up with Camper Van Beethoven to head up a class action lawsuit in California against the streaming giant, alleging that Spotify "knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses."
The suit seeks $150 million in damages, noting that the company offers music to more than 75 million users, and that statutory penalties make way for judgments of up to $30,000 for each infringed song, or up to $150,000 when willful infringement can be proven.
The suit comes in the wake of a settlement between the company and the National Music Publishers Association for which, sources say, the streaming company has set aside as much as $25 million to pay settlements.
As companies like Spotify and the Jay Z-owned Tidal fight to keep their shares of the market after Apple brought its Beats service under the company's flagship banner. Additionally, companies like Soundcloud, which previously provided free music streaming and hosting to up-and-coming musicians in particular, are now angling to provide a paid service.
The suit comes in the larger context of an industry that does not yet have hard-and-fast rules for compensating musicians for streaming revenue, especially when the recorded works fall outside the real of a major-label contract.
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