We get an update this week on the total “address unknown” mass NOIs filed with the Copyright Office for the royalty-free windfall loophole. This time we have to thank our our friends at Paperchain in Sydney for doing the work of decompressing the massive numbers of unsearchable compressed files posted on the Copyright Office website. As you can see, there’s been an increase of approximately 70% since January 2017. (For background, see my article.)
As you can see, Amazon is still far and away the leader in this latest loophole designed to stiff songwriters, followed closely by Google. However, Spotify is moving on up. Spotify does get extra points for starting late in March 2017, but they are catching up fast filing over 5,000,000 as of last month.
Well… this is awkward.
Last summer, MBW ran a widely-read story which blew the lid off the fact that Spotify’s platform was being deliberately clogged up with music by ‘fake’ artists.
We were told that Daniel Ek’s company was encouraging and even paying producers to create tracks under untraceable pseudonyms – within specific musical guidelines – which were then being drafted into key first-party playlists.
After some consideration, Spotify declined to comment.
On Friday (July 7), nearly a year after our article appeared, Spotify issued a fierce denial of such accusations.
“We pay royalties -sound and publishing – for all tracks on Spotify, and for everything we playlist.
“We do not own rights, we’re not a label, all our music is licensed from rights-holders and we pay them – we don’t pay ourselves.”
What’s essential to remember here: amongst Spotify’s indignant yet carefully-worded statement, you might have missed the bit where they deny that their service is littered with fake artists.
That’s because they can’t.
Spotify just can’t seem to catch a break in the artist community. A story broke on Vulture evidently based on a Music Business Worldwide post alleging (and I’m paraphrasing) that (1) Spotify commissions artists to cover hits of the day and (2) there’s a lot of sketchy material on Spotify that trades on confusing misspellings, “tributes” and other ways of tricking users into listening to at least 30 seconds of a recording. Which means that Spotify isn’t that different than the rest of the Internet.
Spotify of course has issued a denial that I find to be Nixonian in its parsing….
Is streaming music a good business?
Streaming has taken over as the dominant music format and is attributed with revitalizing the moribund business of record labels big and small. But for streaming companies, the answer is not as clear-cut.
Stuart Dredge over at Music Ally is reporting Spotify’s losses widened to $600 million last year. Read his article here. I just wanted to point out that some significant portion of these widening losses are due to currency swings. March 29th 2016 Spotify announced a $1 billion US denominated convertible debt deal with […]
According to MusicAlly, Spotify has recently taken dodging songwriters to a whole new level by refusing to pay the Swedish authors’ collecting society Svenska Tonsättares Internationella Musikbyrå or “STIM.” That’s right—Spotify the Swedish company is stiffing the Swedish collecting society STIM for payments to Swedish songwriters (and any other writers STIM collects for). And in a great example of Spotify’s seemingly endless right hand/left hand problem, Spotify is stiffing STIM at the same time as Spotify is launching its high profile charm offensive for superstar songwriters (“Spotify Secret Genius”) and trying to get a federal judge to approve a class action settlement.
For those of you not familiar with this expression, “kicking the dog” is when some does something bad to you, and you in turn do something bad to someone weaker than you.
We call your attention to this odd dispute in Sweden between Spotify and STIM which is the Swedish performing rights organization for songwriters. Spotify has for the second time decided to delay payments to Swedish songwriters because they have “unmatched” tracks. Generally unmatched performing rights royalties get paid to the societies anyway, and then the society sorts out who is to be paid. We are completely puzzled as to why Spotify would take on this extra burden when they are not required to. Performing rights are easy. This is in marked contrast to mechanical royalties in US, in which the burden (by law) falls on the service to sort out unmatched royalties.