Spotify facing $150 million lawsuit over unpaid royalties

why i have to quit spotify app music earbuds headphones
Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock
Last week we reported that Spotify had announced it was working on a better way to handle royalty payments to artists, but perhaps the streaming service should have started on that long ago. The company is now being sued for $150 million in a class-action suit, Billboard reports.

The lawsuit was filed by David Lowery, front man of the bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker, who has a long history of advocating for fair pay for artists. The $150 million suit, filed on December 28, claims that Spotify knowingly and unlawfully distributes copyrighted music without obtaining the proper mechanical licenses.

Among the songs allegedly distributed illegally are many from Lowery’s former band, Cracker. Almond Grove, Get On Down the Road, King of Bakersfield, and Tonight I Cross the Border are specifically named in the complaint.

According to the complaint, Spotify has publicly admitted that it hasn’t been able to secure licenses for all of the music it streams. As we reported last week, sources say that Spotify has set aside anywhere from $17 to $25 million to pay out to rights holders once the identity of the payee can be confirmed. This could be the public admission that the complaint is referencing.

The suit was filed as class action because it claims the number of members of the proposed class exceeds 100 and can be easily identified in Spotify’s own records. If approved, this would appoint Lowery as the class representative. In addition to the damages claimed, the suit would also require Spotify to refrain from streaming any unlicensed works until proper rights could be obtained.

Spotify has been working with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) “to find the best way to correctly pay the royalties we have set aside to the right publishers and songwriters,” according to a post on the company’s blog last week. The post mentioned that the process would take “significant time and effort,” but now the company might have more incentive to speed up its efforts.

Home Theater

SoundCloud hopes to add listeners with 50 percent discount for students

SoundCloud launched a student discount for it's top-tier SoundCloud Go+ membership, dropping the price to just $5 a month. It's a good deal for students, but will it be enough to keep the music platform from going under?
Mobile

Need a quick battery boost? Try one of our favorite portable chargers

Battery life still tops the polls when it comes to smartphone concerns. If it’s bugging you, then maybe it’s time to snag yourself a portable charger. Here are our picks for the best portable chargers.
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Movies & TV

Stay inside this winter with the best shows on Hulu, including 'Legion'

It's often overwhelming to navigate Hulu's robust library of TV shows. To help, we put together a list of the best shows on Hulu, whether you're into frenetic cartoons, intelligent dramas, or anything in between.
Mobile

Saving for a vacation? Here are the best apps to help you manage your wealth

Looking to start managing your money, but don't care for intricate software or spreadsheets? Lucky for you, we made a list of the best budgeting apps designed to help you rein in your expenditures.
Computing

Don't spend hundreds on Pro Tools or Logic. Try one of these free alternatives

Believe it or not, Pro Tools isn't the only digital audio workstation worth your time. Check out our picks for the best free recording software, whether you're looking for a lightweight app or a full-blown audio workstation.
Home Theater

iPhone owners can finally hear the highest-quality streaming music on Tidal

If you're an iPhone owner who is after the highest possible audio quality from your streaming library, you now have the best option out there: Tidal's Masters Quality Audio (MQA) is now available on iOS.
Home Theater

Get loud with the best outdoor speakers to rock your party in any weather

From rugged, solar-powered backwoods listening companions to floating pool party jam boxes, the best outdoor speakers partner with your lifestyle to let you listen to your favorite tunes wherever you go.
Music

Apple Music offers a few subscription options. We break them down here

Competition for music streaming apps is quickly dwindling with giants like Apple Music and Spotify dominating most of the market? But how much does Apple Music cost and what does a subscription to the music-streaming platform entail?
Home Theater

If you’re a Spotify Premium subscriber, you now get Hulu for free

Spotify Premium subscribers have yet another reason to love the Swedish streaming service, with the company now offering ad-free Hulu accounts to all premium users at no additional cost.
Music

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've handpicked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.
Music

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.
Home Theater

Apple Music completes its Amazon migration, is now available on Fire TV

Amazon's popular Fire TV devices are now compatible with the most popular on-demand music streaming service in the United States, thanks to a new integration with Apple Music that has finally hit Fire TV devices.
Emerging Tech

This streaming music service pays artists in Bitcoin, plants trees if you listen

Feedbands is an environmentally friendly subscription streaming music service that pays its artists in Bitcoin, and plants trees in exchange for authenticated listens from customers.