[Editor Charlie sez: The $43.4 million fund ordered by the Court is a downpayment on the $112.55 million settlement with the class. Noteably, the members of that class do not include National Music Publishers Association members (96% of their members who settled for $30 million, apparently mostly the big guns but terms are confidential) or the Wixen objectors.]
The court has approved the settlement of combined class action lawsuits originally brought against Spotify for copyright infringement by musicians David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick. The settlement guarantees an artist compensation of $43.4million plus future royalties. The full settlement totals $112.55 million, including legal fees.
The ruling came despite objections of major music publisher Wixen and several songwriters and publishers who argued that the settlement was too small.
“The court heard a lot of testimony and did the best it could under the circumstances,” attorney and artist advocate Christian Castle tells Hypebot. “It’s still far and away the most money anyone has gotten so far from Spotify’s gross and willful infringement of song copyrights. Next time maybe they’ll pay more attention to the little guy.”
Read the post on Hypebot
Read the Court’s Order and Final Judgement
During a hearing on Friday (Dec. 1) in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York before Judge Alison J. Nathan, lawyers for Spotify and the putative class argued for final approval of the settlement, while two other rightsholders filed objections that the damages for each composition streamed were insufficient. Under the terms of the settlement, the writers of compositions that have been streamed between zero and 100 times would receive a minimum payment, while the rest of the money would be divided on a pro rata basis.
The basic issue is fairly straightforward: Spotify didn’t license mechanical rights for the compositions it streamed, even when it had rights to recordings of them. Although the company says that poor record keeping makes it very difficult to identify and find rightsholders, it also failed to issue the appropriate NOIs — Notices Of Intent — with the U.S. Copyright Office. In March 2016, Spotify agreed to a $30 million settlement with the National Music Publishers Association. Rightsholders can choose to opt out of the settlement and sue on their own, as several have already done.
Dealing with the issue is proving more complicated, especially since Spotify hasn’t said — and no one else knows — exactly how many compositions the company has infringed. That means lawyers for the putative class couldn’t say how much each class member would receive. “It’s hard to give a precise range,” said a lawyer for the putative class.
“How about an imprecise range?” Judge Nathan asked.
This, too, was difficult, apparently, although a lawyer for Spotify, Andrew Pincus of Mayer Brown, suggested a “ballpark” estimate that the company had infringed 300,000 songs. That would mean each rightsholder would get an average of about $100, although the actual numbers would vary widely. Statutory damages for willful copyright infringement range from $750 to $150,000.
Read the post on Billboard
[Editor Charlie sez: Spotify can’t account for millions of songs as it is, how will they give songwriters a straight count on “Jump In” feature? Easy answer–they won’t.]
Spotify is testing a new feature called Jump In that would let its free mobile users get on-demand features in certain playlist, according to multiple sources with direct knowledge of the situation….
Spotify is currently in the midst of negotiations with all of the major labels, and those deals won’t be done anytime soon, according to multiple sources. Given that there are no deals in place, the company would need special approval to push Jump In, which could potentially alter or delay the rollout schedule.
Read the post on The Verge.
As lower margin streams destroy higher margin sales, this chart tells you the best you can hope for.
And don’t miss the fine print at the very bottom of the chart: “Revenue based on 91 cents per download and .00575 cents per stream”
In other words–cooked numbers. You can’t use an average per stream income penny rate because the difference between ad supported and subscription rates is so vast. The subscription rate will ALWAYS pull up the ad supported rate, especially if you don’t adjust for the difference in subscribers–much higher for free and much lower for subscription.
Nobody makes .00575 cents per stream on ad supported streaming (see Zoë Keating’s royalty statements). Ad supported is the lions share of Spotify streaming based on the ratio of paid to free accounts that Spotify releases–which are unverified.
Do you know anyone who actually gets paid “91 cents per download” on a 70 cent wholesale price?
This suggests that the revenue column for streaming is overstated–maybe wildly overstated.
Source: Hits Magazine
According to legal filings obtained by DMN, a Dutch photographer by the name of Dana Lixenberg is claiming copyright infringement over an image of Notorious B.I.G. on Spotify’s artist page. Lixenberg is well-regarded in photography circles, and musical ones as well.
In the complaint filed in California federal court, Lixenberg says, “not content to solely rip off the musicians on whose backs Spotify has built an 8 billion dollar company, Spotify has expanded its efforts to also include ripping off photographers.”
Read the post on Digital Music News