No doubt this is much cheaper than purchasing individual tracks or albums, and it probably helps with piracy as listeners might decide to go legal if it is affordable. However not everyone is benefitting from these prices and recently it seems that Spotify has been hit with a $150 million class-action lawsuit over alleged unpaid royalties.
The complaint suggests that Spotify had distributed copyrighted music to more than 75 million users, but had failed to locate or identify the owners of said music, thus preventing the rightful owners of the songs to receive their royalties, which in turn “creates substantial harm and injury to the copyright holders, and diminishes the integrity of the works.”
If this sounds familiar, it is because just recently Spotify had announced their plan to help fix the royalty problems in the music industry. One of the problems they highlighted was, “Unfortunately, when it comes to publishing and songwriting royalties, especially in the United States, that’s easier said than done because the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholder is often missing, wrong, or incomplete.”
Is that a valid argument? We suppose we’ll have to let the lawyers and the courts decide that for us.