Spotify: Singing the streaming blues


Spotify: Singing the streaming blues

mikkelwilliam /

With Spotify embroiled in a potentially expensive copyright lawsuit, WIPR considers the case’s impact and whether the streaming service is actually a positive force for rights owners.

At the end of December, Wixen Music Publishing filed a claim for copyright infringement against streaming service Spotify, to the tune of $1.6 billion. This lawsuit is just one of many that Spotify has been hit with since launching nearly ten years ago.

The Spotify squabble demonstrates the challenges that rights owners such as creatives, publishers, and record labels face in the digital age. While Spotify has agreements in place with record labels relating to sound recording copyright, Wixen’s complaint alleged that the company failed to obtain the equivalent rights for the compositions of that music.

Licensing music can be a complex process and often requires the consent of multiple right owners. As Neil Parkes, partner at UK law firm Foot Anstey, explains, “A music track or record in the form which it is listened to by the public is made up of many individual parts.” These parts include the creative work as well as the monetary investment behind it, and may involve a host of individuals and corporations.

Spotify, copyright, music, Wixen Music Publishing, Neil Parkes, Foot Anstey