Spotify boasts 70 million subscribers as stock market listing looms

Isaac Cain
January 7, 2018

But many artists complain that they see little of the profit. Over the last 15 years, a number of streaming sites have been sued for failure to pay royalties to the publishers and artist for the content they were streaming - starting as far back as Kazaa in the early 2,000s. The sneaky tweet means the streaming service has already generated three big music business headlines this year, though this was the first one to stem from an official announcement.

For well over a decade, the music industry has been trying to figure out the Internet and they have failed more often than they have succeeded. Songs like "Free Fallin" by Tom Petty, "Light My Fire" by the Doors, and even works by Weezer, Missy Elliott, and The Beach Boys are included in the claim.

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The suit, which alleges that Spotify is using thousands of songs without a proper license, was filed on December 29 in California federal court. Axios first reported news of the filing.

The lawsuit alleges that Spotify outsourced its copyright responsibility to a third party, Harry Fox Agency, which was "ill-equipped to obtain all the necessary mechanical licenses". In its lawsuit, it said its songs have been downloaded or streamed billions of times through Spotify and that it received no revenue for that. What is interesting is that the industry is shifting to be more streamer-friendly, meaning that is likely that legislation will be passed in the future that might make recuperating losses on these grounds more hard. In May the company proposed a $43 million settlement to resolve a class-action suit from a collective of songwriters, including David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick, that in September was lambasted as being inadequate by a group of songwriters and actors; more lawsuits ensued.

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