[Editor Charlie sez: The more interesting claim is against Spotify for inducing a breach and discriminating against all the artists who didn’t get stock, RSUs or something that represented the value of the stock. But the really interesting case is against the publishers for conspiring to keep streaming mechanicals at a “less than zero” rate while braying about how great a job they’d done in negotiating at the CRB with streaming and freezing the mechanical rate for physical over the same period that just happened to correspond to Spotify’s launch.]
Black Sheep have filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group, Rolling Stone reports and Pitchfork can confirm. The 1990s hip-hop duo allege that the label owes more than $750 million in royalties to numerous Universal artists due to an early “sweetheart” arrangement with Spotify, which allowed the streaming company to pay less in royalties in exchange for Spotify stock. The artists are suing Universal for breach of contract, breach of duty of good faith and fair dealing, and unjust enrichment.
In the lawsuit, plaintiffs Andres “Dres” Vargas Titus and William “Mista Lawnge” McLean allege that Universal “is withholding hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties” due to a “previously undisclosed” agreement with Spotify. This “sweetheart” arrangement allowed Spotify to license music from the label at a discounted rate “in exchange for Spotify stock and lower royalty payments.”
Big thanks to Jon at Camden Live for posting about this really important documentary about the deep, down and dirty effects of Spotify on music, musicians and the creative process.
It’s always been a hard road for musicians to make money from their songs. Nonetheless, selling tons of singles and albums was at least a target and something bands could dream about. Of course, there were many ways the labels could work the sales figures to get their shares out first, and only then the bands might see something. Despite the conflict between the often industrial-strength labels and the upcoming artists, there was at least hope that money was flowing back to the content creators. Now though in the age of streaming music, the connection between making music and making a living is profoundly broken.
This schism is the subject matter for Lightbringer Production’s documentary film “The Way The Music Died” featuring insights from musicians and industry pros, including Mishkin Fitzgerald from Birdeatsbaby. The film probes the spirit of artists determined to keep writing songs in the face of the meager payouts from the giant and ever-growing music stream service Spotify. Find out why this is ripping-out the heart and soul of new music.
Netflix $50 billion loss of market capitalization may be a new normal for streaming–are we ready for the next big thing?Spoxit: Has Streaming Jumped the Shark? — Music Tech Solutions