Spotting the problem: New claims against Spotify

Spotify has had two copyright law suits brought against them in the last two weeks. The first claim is by David Lowery, who is claiming copyright infringement. Lowery is seeking $150 million from Spotify for illegally duplicating and distributing his band “Cracker and Camper Van Beetoven” songs.

The second claim is by Melissa Ferrick a Massachusetts based artist. Ferrick is claiming a class-action status of $200 million for Spotify failing to notify her and obtain a license for the streaming of her compositions.

Spotify has created a mechanism aiming to help generate money for artists, which, in a world of increasing piracy and decreasing profits for artists, is no small matte. The company has created a free add supported tier and a premium paid subscription model that aims to migrate users away from piracy and allows royalties to be paid to artists and has paid out over $3 Billion USD in royalties since it launched in 2008, of this amount more than $300 million was paid out in the first three months of 2015.
Spotify has rebutted the recent claims against them. However, they do admit that the necessary data to pay artists is often wrong or incomplete. Spotify has tried to assure artists that when the rights are not clear, the royalties owed are set aside until identities can be confirmed.

There are however numerous artists voicing their complaints about Spotify and its payment mechanism, the most notable being artist being Taylor Swift who refused to release her most recent album, 1989 on Spotify and removed her entire back catalogue from being accessed by subscribers.

The Journal of Business and Intellectual Property Law has identified that an artist who has 480,000 Spotify streams in a year would only make $1,900 in that year.

Perhaps Spotify will need to reconsider its payment procedure if it is going get artists such as Taylor Swift to just “Shake It Off” and start allowing their music to be streamed through Spotify.


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