Spotify is being sued by a major music publisher for $1.6 billion

Wixen Music Publishing’s clients include Tom Petty, Neil Young, and The Beach Boys

Wixen Music Publishing is suing Spotify for $1.6 billion. This Publisher licenses music from about 200 artists, including Tom Petty, Neil Young, The Beach Boys, Missy Elliott, and Janis Joplin.

The lawsuit was filed in California last Friday. And alleges that Spotify has been using “thousands of songs” without the correct license. Wixen essentially argues that Spotify doesn’t do enough to identify the rights holders of songs it licenses from labels.

This lawsuit comes as a response to the $43 million settlement with songwriters and publishers that Spotify proposed back in May. It is the latest development in a long-standing dispute over the streaming rights compensation split between labels and publishing companies.

Spotify has publicly made label contracts a huge priority, and made sure to solidify its relationship with the three majors — Warner, Universal, and Sony — last summer. Before moving forward with plans to go public sometime this year. It also solidified a catch-all deal with Merlin, the rights agency that handles the majority of independent record label licensing.  Allowing it access to music from thousands of smaller labels.

It seems that Spotify’s bald-faced attempt at wooing songwriters with its Secret Genius program. “A global initiative [to] highlight the contribution songwriters and producers make to the music industry and artists’ careers,” launched in June 2017, did not help the situation as much as intended.


About Joslyne Thaggard

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