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David Lowery Files $150M Class Action Suit Against Spotify Over Unpaid Royalties

gavelSpotify, which has been under fire for unreported songs and unpaid royalties, announced last week that it would overhaul its rights database and reporting system. But that was not enough to deter Cracker's David Lowery from filing a class action suit against Spotify; and other lawsuits may follow.

Cracker and Camper Van Beethoven front man, industry critic and musician advocate David Lowery is leading a $150 million class action lawsuit against Spotify. The lawsuit claims that Spotify "knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted" compositions without obtaining the proper mechanical licences.

DavidLoweryThe lawsuit alleges that Spotify "publicly" admitted that it had not properly licensed all tracks and created a fund, reportedly of $17-$24 million, to compensate unpaid songwriters and publishers. While the complaint names four specific Cracker songs, it also seeks class action status which would allow other songwriters and rightsholders to join Lowery in pursuing compensation from Spotify.  

Another Lawsuit Looms

A similar class action lawsuit against Spotify is also being explored by another group of rightholders, an informed source tells Hypebot.  Lowery's lawsuit also comes as the National Music Publishers Association and Spotify were in settlement talks to resolve the issue of non-payment of mechanical royalties for songs available on the service that had not been properly licensed. 

Spotify Responds

"We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny," Spotify's global head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince said in a statement. "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."

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