Music Business

Spotify Admits Their Music Publishing Payment System Is Broken, Commits To Major Overhaul

Spotify newSpotify has gotten a lot of flack in recent months from music publishers and songwriters over unidentified and misidentified tracks leading to incorrectly paid or unpaid royalties.  Today, Spotify pledged to fix the problem, while admitting that it will take some time.

Spotify newSpotify is pledging significant resources to build a “comprehensive publishing administration system” that will get songwriters and music publishers paid more accurately and quickly. 

"One of the most difficult challenges is the lack of accurate data as to who owns the rights to a specific track, especially when it comes to songwriter and publisher rights," James Duffett-Smith, Spotify's Global As Head Of Publisher Relations wrote in a blog post. "In many cases, the ownership of the rights are not even finalized when a record is released; in many other cases, rights are held by multiple parties, rights change hands, and rightsholders remain entirely unclear."

"This is a global problem – outside the U.S., publishing rights organizations and collecting societies who receive royalties on behalf of songwriters and publishers face similar challenges," he continued. "And it is a complex problem – we are committed to solving it, but it is going to take significant time and effort."

In the meantime, Spotify is pledging to work with National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and others in the music publishing community to properly pay the royalties they have set aside to publishers and songwriters.

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  1. How many times have tech companies been criticized for jumping into the music business without an understanding of the inner workings of the very businesses they want to dominate. To be in the broadcast/streaming business for over 50 million subscribers without a music licensing department and to simply add songs without proper licensing shows a level of irresponsibility that borders on the criminal.

  2. Spotify is ONLY saying this because they got caught and the artists complained. The corporations will chaet all they want until caught, then say, “Sorry, we messed up.” But they don’t really care because it’s all about profits$.

  3. Well, the music industry has its own responsability in failing to build a global rights database. For DSP, publishing rights are unmanageable on a multiterritory basis, particularly in EU.

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