Spotify Settles $1.6 Billion Copyright Infringement Lawsuit Brought by Music Publisher Representing Tom Petty and Others

Spotify has settled a $1.6 billion IP lawsuit alleging the music subscription streaming service failed to get physical clearances and properly compensate artists, among other issues.

New York-based Spotify, which reportedly has 75 million active subscribers and 170 million monthly users, and Wixen Music Publishing – whose clients include the late Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks and Rage Against the Machine – mutually agreed to dismiss the case after both sides came to an undisclosed business resolution.

In a joint statement, Wixen and Spotify said they agreed to a final dismissal of the lawsuit filed by Wixen in late 2017.

“The conclusion of that litigation is a part of a broader business partnership between the parties, which fairly and reasonably resolves the legal claims asserted by Wixen relating to past licensing of Wixen’s catalog and establishes a mutually-advantageous relationship for the future,” said the companies.

The recently enacted Music Modernization Act signed by President Trump in October hopes to negate future similar litigation by streamlining the clearance process enabling artists to get compensated more quickly by digital music services.

Notably, the legislation also meant artists and songwriters would – for the first time – receive royalties from streaming services for content recorded and published before 1972.



House Passes Updated Music Copyright Bill

The House of Representatives April 25 approved the Music Modernization Act (H.R. 5447), legislation intended to update music copyright laws and remuneration to artists and creators in the digital age.

The bill, which was introduced to the House on April 10 House Judiciary Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), would be the biggest update to music legislation in 40 years, if confirmed by the Senate, according to the Recording Academy.

To help gain passage of the bill, the Academy sent more than 100 Grammy winners, nominees and industry leaders to meet with lawmakers in the House and Senate April 18-19 as part of the Academy’s “Grammys on the Hill” grassroots initiative.

The Music Modernization Act unites provisions from four previously introduced bills — the Allocation for Music Producers (AMP) Act, the Classics Act, the Fair Play Fair Pay Act, and a songwriter-specific version of the Music Modernization Act —under one legislative umbrella to ensure advancement and protections for all music creators.

The Recording Academy has been championing the need for music reform in the digital age as public consumption of recorded music moves from transactional to subscription streaming. The Academy first established a lobbying presence in Washington, D.C., 20 years ago, according to CEO Neil Portnow.

“Passage of the Music Modernization Act in the House is a historic step forward for all music creators, ensuring that they are credited, paid, and shown the respect they deserve for the impact they have on our culture and daily life,” Portnow said in a statement.

A hearing is expected to be scheduled in the Senate within the coming weeks.