A hefty class-action lawsuit has been filed against Spotify, seeking over $150 million in damages from the music streaming service.
The lawsuit is spearheaded by David Lowery, frontman of the band Cracker, who is joined by over 100 other artists who claim Spotify knowingly plays copyrighted materials without proper licensing.
According to a report in Billboard, the complaints claim that Spotify’s failure to obtain permission before distributing music to its 75 million active users “creates substantial harm and injury to the copyright holders, and diminishes the integrity of the works.”
Lowery, in particular, is suing over what he alleges to be illegal reproductions and hosting of his songs while with the band Cracker, such as “King of Bakersfield,” “Almond Grove,” and “Tonight I Cross The Border.”
This isn’t the only case of copyright complaints on Spotify’s hands, as it is currently in talks with the National Music Publishers Association following a similar beef over licensing issues.
Spotify, in response to earlier claims, released an official statement last week detailing the hurdles it faces in paying artists their due compensation.
“We’ve paid well more than $3 billion in royalties to date, including $300 million in the first quarter of this year alone,” the blog post said. “Unfortunately, when it comes to publishing and songwriting royalties […] that’s easier said than done because the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholder is often missing, wrong, or incomplete.”
Spotify also stated that they set aside funding for owed royalties that haven’t yet made it to their rightsholder. While this fund supposedly exists for those in the same boat as Lowery, Spotify explains that “the royalties we have set aside amount to a fraction of one percent of all the royalties we have paid.”
Spotify has publicly admitted fault in the past when it comes to obtaining licenses, and while that information may not pan out well in court, the company has been working to rebuild how the music industry licences tracks to that artists can be compensated both easier and faster.