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Spotify to pay royalty settlement

May 24, 2018

Spotify, the popular music streaming app, will pay out $112 million (€96m) in a settlement agreement, following two lawsuits that claimed songwriters hadn’t been paid enough in exchange for their music appearing on the service.

The class action originally came from David Lowery, a musicians’ rights advocate from the band Camper Van Beethoven, and Melissa Ferrick, a songwriter and owner of a music publishing company. They both put forward that Spotify had failed to obtain proper licences to songwriters’ work.

The victory means Spotify will pay $43.5 million in cash, with the rest committed to ongoing payment of artist royalties.

Judge Alison Nathan, at New York’s southern district court, described the amount as a “significant recovery”.

It’s also a victory for Spotify, which was pushing for the judge to approve the settlement, previously agreed upon in May 2017. The agreement has met with dissent from music publishing company Wixen. The company filed its own $1.6 billion lawsuit in January, arguing for damages of $150,000 per song for more than 10,000 songs; it described the settlement decision as “a 98.7 per cent discount for non-wilful infringement” and “a practical free pass on wilful infringement”.

Spotify currently has two other outstanding copyright lawsuits, Bob Gaudio, a founder member of the Four Seasons, and country music publisher Bluewater Music Services Corporation.

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