Californian music publishing company Wixen Music is suing Spotify for $1.6 billion, as the music streaming business has reproduced and shared songs without having the right royalties’ agreement in place.
Spotify is currently a privately-owned company, reported to be worth in the region of $19 billion. It is planning a stock market listing later in 2018.
Streaming service without correct publishing rights
Wixen Music Publishing, who owns the rights to a number of songs including those written by Janis Joplin, The Doors and Tom Petty, among many others, collects the royalties for those songs on behalf of the song writers or rights owners.
“We’re just asking to be treated fairly,” Wixen Music’s president Randall Wixen said in a statement. “We are not looking for a ridiculous punitive payment. But we estimate that our clients account for somewhere between 1% and 5% of the music these services distribute.”
Wixen’s law suit said the current deal on offer from Spotify doesn’t fairly compensate the song writers for the use of their songs on the streaming service.
“Prior to launching in the United States, Spotify attempted to license sound recordings by working with record labels but, in a race to be first to market, made insufficient efforts to collect the required musical composition information and, in turn, failed in many cases to license the compositions embodied within each recording or comply with the requirements of Section 115 of the Copyright Act,” the law suit states.
Wixen law suit not the first for Spotify
The Wixen law suit is not the first music copyright related one Spotify has faced. In 2015, metal music label Victory Records said Spotify didn’t adequately compensate writers of the music it shares.
In 2016 Spotify paid over $20 million to publishers through the National Music Publishers’ Association. And, in May 2017, Spotify had to pay $43 million to a collection of three music publishers.