Streaming platform Spotify have been sued by a music publishing company for $1.6 billion (£1.18 billion), after they were found to have been allegedly hosting music that they do not hold the full formal rights to.
The California based company, Wixen, who made the claims, was formed by Randall Wixen in 1978 and serves to publish company licenses for catalogs of music. They represent over 2,000 artists from rock legends like The Doors, Neil Young and the Beach Boys to alternative rock legends like Rage Against the Machine and Hip-Hop acts like Missy Elliott. By estimations made by Wixen, their roster of artists represents between one to five percent of the entirety of music that is streamed on Spotify.
Spotify failed to get a direct or a compulsory license from Wixen, which would have allowed them to reproduce and distribute the songs, Wixen explained in their lawsuit, which was filed in a California federal court.
Wixen also alleged that Spotify outsourced its work to a third party, licensing and royalty services provider the Harry Fox Agency, which was described to be “ill-equipped to obtain all the necessary mechanical licenses”.
Spotify refused to comment.
However, this latest lawsuit is nothing new to Spotify. In May 2017, the Swedish streaming giants agreed to a $43 million settlement in a class action lawsuit filed by songwriters Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery, who is the lead vocalist of Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven. Ferrick and Lowery joined their separate lawsuits into one legal action in 2016 and initially necessitated $150 million in an attempt to settle the matter. After Spotify’s abundant attempts to have the class action lawsuit canned, the two sides ultimately reached the settlement.
The news comes just after Austin Darbo, senior editor of Spotify announced that Grime would be made an official genre on the streaming service, paying homage to its council estate and pirate radio origins.