This is definitely not the news Spotify wanted to open up the new year with. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Wixen Music Publishing filed the $1.6 billion lawsuit against the Stockholm-Sweden based streaming giant December 29th.
Damn, that’s a lot of streaming.
The lawsuit couldn’t have come at a worse time as Spotify is set to go public this year. Wixen who represents musical acts such as Tom Petty, Rage Against the Machine, Missy Elliott, Neil Young, Weezer, and the Beach Boys claims in their lawsuit that Spotify is using Petty’s “Free Fallin”, the Doors ” Light My Fire” and other songs without proper licensing and adequate compensation. Now how did Wixen come up with $1.6 billion dollars in damages? They claim it’s a summation of $150,000 per proper compensation with our proper licensing fees. Wixen is also seeking attorneys’ fees and injunctive relief.
Spotify is no stranger to lawsuits, they have been hit with numerous copyright infringement suits to date. They settled one of those suits back in may agreeing to pay publishers and songwriters led by David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick $44.3 million over similar complaints brought against them. Not everyone was satisfied with that settlement and it is still awaiting approval from a judge. Wixen filed their lawsuit as lawmakers look to reform music licensing by introducing the Music Modernization Act which would bring to an end the “notice of intent” process. Passage of the act would have impacted Wixen suing Spotify hence the timing of their suit last year.
Wixen president Randall Wixen in a statement to The Hollywood Reporter:
We are very disappointed that these services will retroactively get a free pass for actions that were previously illegal unless we actually file suit before Jan. 1, 2018,Neither we nor our clients are interested in becoming litigants, but we have been faced with a choice of forfeiting rights and damages or taking action at this time. We regret that this otherwise admirable proposed bill has had this effect, and we hope that Spotify nonetheless comes to the table with a fair and reasonable approach to reaching a resolution with us. We are fully prepared to go as far forward in the courts as required to protect our clients’ rights.”
It’s going to be really interesting to see how this plays out for Spotify in the new year and how it will affect their plans to go public.
Photo Illustration by Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images