Spotify Being Sued by Wixen Music Publishing for $1.6 Billion

Spotify has a huge library of music at its disposal, but it looks like one music publisher isn’t too happy with the streaming platform.

As reported by Variety today, Spotify is being sued out of California in the United States for a total of $1.6 billion. Wixen Music Publishing is the plaintiff in this particular case, which hosts over 200 artists, including The Beach Boys, Janis Joplin, Missy Elliott, Tom Petty, and many others. The lawsuit was filed last Friday, and, according to the documentation, Spotify has been using “thousands of songs” without the right licenses.

“Prior to launching in the United States, Spotify attempted to license sound recordings by working with record labels but, in a race to be first to market, made insufficient efforts to collect the required musical composition information and, in turn, failed in many cases to license the compositions embodied within each recording or comply with the requirements of Section 115 of the Copyright Act.”

The argument that Wixen is promoting is that Spotify does not do enough on its end to the rights holders to songs that are available on the digital platform.

Spotify, for its part, filed a claim on the same day that says Wixen had not given Spotify’s client’s enough time to opt-out of the legal action.

The lawsuit against Spotify is apparently tied to a long-running battle between the platform and publishers, and is a direct response to the $43 million settlement that Spotify reached with songwriters and publishers in May of last year. While a settlement happened, there still seems to be a dispute between the major players here over the streaming rights compensation split between them.

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Our Take

$1.6 billion is a lot of money, especially for Spotify, which aims to go public this year. At the same time, a huge lawsuit like that can’t be positive news, especially if Spotify loses. Of course, it’s not likely that Spotify is going to go anywhere anytime soon, but with lawsuits of this magnitude a possibility, one can’t help but think back to a recent interview that Jimmy Iovine took part in, where he outlined his view of standalone music streaming services, and how he doesn’t really see a positive future for them.

[via Variety]