In Brief

Spotify hit with billion-dollar copyright lawsuit

Online streaming service accused of infringing musicians’ rights in industry test case

The music streaming service Spotify has been hit with a $1.6bn (£1.2m) lawsuit for breach of copyright, in a test case that could have wide-ranging implications for the music industry.

 Wixen Music, a leading US music publisher, has accused the Swedish-based firm of using artists’ music “without a licence and without compensation”. The company handles copyright management and royalty compliance for artists including Tom Petty, The Doors, Janis Joplin, Neil Young and Missy Elliot.

In all more than 10,000 songs are listed in the lawsuit, with Wixen seeking damages of $150,000 per song, the maximum awarded under the US Copyright Act.

“The lawsuit is just the latest copyright headache for the music-streaming service,” says CNN Money. In May, Spotify settled a class action lawsuit with a group of songwriters for $43m (£32m) and is contesting three other suits in the US over a failure to pay royalties to publishers and songwriters.

In recent years, Spotify has struck deals with major record labels, resolving potential copyright liabilities. These deals “have been an important new source of revenue for the music industry, which has contracted sharply over the last 15 years”, says the BBC.

However, the issue continues to trouble the firm, which has an estimated 60 million subscribers worldwide and is gearing up to list shares on the stock market later this year.

Despite being valued at $19bn (£14bn), Spotify has struggled to make a profit since it launched a decade ago. If the court finds in Wixen’s favour, the company could face further lawsuits around the world.

Recommended

Podcasts of the week: war reporters, hard news and big interviews
Podcast app on a phone
In Review

Podcasts of the week: war reporters, hard news and big interviews

HowTheLightGetsIn: a Jubilee celebration of philosophy and music
HowTheLightGetsIn festival
Why we’re talking about . . .

HowTheLightGetsIn: a Jubilee celebration of philosophy and music

How Eurovision will play out amid Ukraine war
Kalush Orchestra celebrate their semi-final win
Why we’re talking about . . .

How Eurovision will play out amid Ukraine war

Music for the times: Vacheron Constantin joins forces with Woodkid
Ewan J Phillips and Woodkid at Abbey Road Studios
The big interview

Music for the times: Vacheron Constantin joins forces with Woodkid

Popular articles

A look back at Johnny Depp’s wives and girlfriends
Amber Heard and Johnny Depp
Behind the scenes

A look back at Johnny Depp’s wives and girlfriends

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin seriously ill?
Vladimir Putin
Why we’re talking about . . .

Is Russian President Vladimir Putin seriously ill?

Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard: what has happened so far
Amber Heard
In Depth

Johnny Depp v. Amber Heard: what has happened so far

The Week Footer Banner