NMPA And Spotify Declare Victory, But David Lowery Says Fight Has Just Begun For Indie Songwriter, Publishers
This week, the National Music Publishers Association and Spotify declared the settlement over unlicensed tracks a smashing success, with 96% of NMPA members signing on. But the fight for fair compensation from Spotify is far from over for many indie publishers and songwriters; and David Lowery, who filed suit against Spotify, explains why.
7 months ago musician and artist rights advocate David Lowery filed suit against Spotify claiming, among other things, that the streaming service had failed to obtain the appropriate mechanical licenses from many artists and publishers.
As a defensive move, Spotify negotiated a seemingly small $5 million settlement with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) on behalf of its members. With that settlement's opt in period just ending, the NMPA declared victory claiming that 96% of its members had signed. Digital Music News went so far as to falsely declare that Spotify had "crushed the $200 million songwriter lawsuit. "
Not so fast, says Lowery, in this exclusive statement to Hypebot:
"The NMPA statement seems to be designed to mislead. "96% of NMPA publishers" is not the same as 96% of all publishers and songwriters. I estimate the NMPA publishers plus the big three publishers represent less than 60% of the songs on Spotify.
Further the class action lawsuit is not about "unmatched royalties" it's about unlicensed songs. Even with the NMPA settlement Spotify is still larded with unlicensed songs and will continue to generate new copyright infringement liabilities daily. Already we see Spotify heralding the NMPA settlement as silver bullet. If Spotify or their bankers (Goldman Sachs) present this to investors as a "solution" to the songwriter class action they may be committing securities fraud.
Finally you have to wonder why the NMPA has been so eager to settle so quickly on less than favorable terms. Well remember that until July of 2015 NMPA owned the Harry Fox Agency. The Harry Fox agency was hired by Spotify to license songs. It is now clear to everyone that Harry Fox Agency failed at this job. This would seem to imply that NMPA is partially liable for the Spotify infringement. How is this not a cover up NMPA members should question their leadership. Specifically are they dragging them into yet another federal investigation?"