Spotify To Be Sued For $150 Million In Unpaid Royalties
Musician and vocal rights advocate David Lowery is coming for Spotify, claiming that the streaming service has knowingly and unlawfully distributed and streamed copyrighted compositions without properly obtained mechanical licenses on Tuesday (Dec. 29), Billboard reports.
Lowery, known as the frontman of the bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, is suing the site for $150 million on behalf of “all similarly situated artists” and copyright owners. The class action lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Central California, and claims that several distributing rights holders have not been compensated. Class action lawsuits are usually qualified as cases which involve a “well-defined community of interest in the litigation.”
“The complaint further notes that statutory penalties allow for judgments between $750-30,000 for each infringed work, and up to $150,000 per song for willful infringement,” writes Billboard.
In a statement released through spokesperson Jonathan Prince for the streaming service on Tuesday (Dec. 29), Spotify unfortunately (especially in the United States), does not always have “the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete.”
“When rightsholders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities,” the company further added.
This wouldn’t be the first time the site was in hot water with musicians. In 2014, Taylor Swift famously pulled her entire collection from the site, and recently, Adele’s mega-album 25 was not available for streaming on Spotify or any other streaming service. Musicians have said that Spotify and other streaming services have cut into industry profits and have contributed to the dip in album sales in recent years.