Leading music streaming platform Spotify has come under fire after being accused of stiffing artists for their royalties in a new lawsuit filed by a pair of musicians.
Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery sued the popular streaming platform for $150 million in damages after charging that the company “knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses” noted to Billboard.
The suit also claims that Spotify failed to issue a notice of intent to employ a compulsory license and illegally distributed copyrighted music to over 75 million users without identifying or bothering to locate the rightful owners to disperse payment.
Spotify issued a statement on the matter to explain their ongoing process in paying artists their just due:
We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny. Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete. When rightsholders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities. We are working closely with the National Music Publishers Association to find the best way to correctly pay the royalties we have set aside and we are investing in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem for good.
Lowery and Van Beethoven’s suit comes on the heels of Spotify being named the most downloaded and used of all music streaming apps in the world by mobile app measuring specialty company App Annie.