Music Business

Musicians In Sweden May Sue Warner Music and Universal Over Spotify Revenue

Per-herreySwedish Musicians' Union lawyer Per Herrey told a Swedish radio station late last week that a number of Swedish artists are considering suing Warner Music and Universal over their split of Spotify revenue. Many of these musicians are working under pre-digital agreements that give them a cut based on earlier days and they feel they should get more. It's less an attack on Spotify than an issue between artists and major labels.

On Friday The Guardian's Hellenne Lindvall reported that Per Herrey, a lawyer for the Swedish Musicians' Union, had appeared on Sveriges Radio and said that:

"A number of Swedish artists are threatening to sue Universal and Warner Music over the paltry royalties they get from people streaming their music. If record labels don't agree to increase the share of the royalties distributed to artists from services such as Spotify, the artists will start demanding that their music is removed from the service."

Apparently these artists have older contracts that give them no more than 10% of revenue from digital streaming and sales. They feel that they should be getting a 50/50 split with the labels in keeping with third-party licensing agreements.

Eurovision 1984 – Sweden – Herreys – Diggi-loo diggi-ley

Herring also says that:

"Universal and Warner may not even have the right to post the music of some the union's members, as those artists' contracts are so old that they don't cover digital distribution and sales."

According to The Local, Per Herrey stated that:

""This is just the tip of the iceberg. In reality there is an enormous number (of artists), but not all are prepared to fight in the public gaze."

Herrey himself is no stranger to the public gaze, having appeared with his brothers on Eurovision Song Contest 1984 which they won with the above rendition of "Diggi-loo diggi-ley."


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. …and it is long overdue. Spotify or any other streaming delivers just fraction of monetization. All streaming services are just cannibalizing simple music sales.
    It is a rat race to dead end tunnel originated on big scale by Spotify (Turbo Nupster – portable with all whistles like Shazam or Echo Nest slaves providing free of charge free discovery) All streamers and Pandoras are abele to deliver globally at the best 250 million subscribers. This is very optimistic number, considering that XM Radio catering to the cream of the society managed in 13 years just 25 million. Lets say they are lucky and by 2020 they will get 250MM folks at $3.99 to $10 per month. If they do there will be no iTunes or Amazon and not much of any other music revenue. The conclusion – industry will plateau at just 25 billion (20 from streaming + 5 from all other sources) This is not even half of inflation adjusted 1999!
    Again we are propelling crazy race to nowhere.
    In the meantime Industry has over billion users of discovery services like Shazam, Soundhound, Gracenote or lyrics ID providers – all of them are in the read, unnoticed by labels providing free service to public.
    Conversion of all of them to mandatory purchase only service at just 39 cents a tune would double the industry in 36 months. Total implementation Discovery Moment Monetization would bring 100 billion dollar industry by 2020. Yes by 2020 – internet marketing and Google in the music will do just that.
    Again if Tweeter IPO will bring just 12 billion than Shazam which can sale real product tomorrow is worth at least 50 billion. Time to wake up!

  2. So they’ve acknowledged that it’s not about spotify, but will take it out on spotify anyway if the labels (which are the issue) don’t give them what they want. Not the best logic here, gotta say, although I can see how it would encourage spotify to back them. It all comes down to contracts in the end, and moving forward it’ll be up to artists to negotiate contracts that better suit them (or find alternate ways of funding their recordings). At least the conversation is starting to go in the right direction. In the future I expect that artists will sign directly with services (be it spotify, pandora, rdio, torch music etc…) and take most of the royalties…but this might take some time to get to.

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