Spotify Hit With $1.6B Lawsuit By Tom Petty, Neil Young Publisher Wixen, Up To 6M Songs Stream Without Licences
[UPDATED] Wixen Music Publishing, which controls songs by Tom Petty, Neil Young, Weezer, The Doors and many others, has sued Spotify demanding $1.6 billion in damages for alleging using thousands of songs without the proper licenses or compensation.
The battle between songwriters, music publishers and Spotify intensified with the December 29th filing of the most serious lawsuit yet against the music streamer.
Wixen Music Publishing, which administers 50,000 songs by Tom Petty, Neil Young, Weezer, the Doors and 2000 other artists and songwriters, has sued the music streamer for $1.6 billion in damages for alleging using thousands of songs without the proper licenses or compensation.
Other Wixen clients include Zach De La Rocha and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, Steely Dan's Donald Fagen, David Cassidy, Sonic Youth's Kim Gordon and Stevie Nicks.
The new lawsuit ratchets up a battle already raging between Wixen and Spotify. In recent months, their fight has been centered around a proposed $43 million settlement to resolve a similar class action lawsuit by songwriters led by Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery.
Wixen argued in that case that "The Settlement Agreement is procedurally and substantively unfair to Settlement Class Members because it prevents meaningful participation by rights holders and offers them an unfair dollar amount in light of Spotify’s ongoing, willful copyright infringement of their works." In return, Spotify questioned Wixen's standing in the case, countering that while the publisher has the rights to administer these songs, their deals did not explicitly include the right to litigate on behalf of the songwriters.
6.1 Million Songs
So before a judge ruled in the class action suit, Wixen preemptively filed this new lawsuit, which alleges that as many as 21% of 6.1 million of the 30 million songs streamed on Spotify are unlicensed. (Read the full complaint here)
"Spotify brazenly disregards United States Copyright law and has committed willful, ongoing copyright infringement," Wixen states in the filing, "Wixen notified Spotify that it had neither obtained a direct or compulsory mechanical license for the use of the Works. For these reasons and the foregoing, Wixen is entitled to the maximum statutory relief."
Delaying Spotify's IPO?
If not settled quickly, and there are no signs that will happen, this latest lawsuit along with the class action suit others that are pending, could delay or even derail Spotify's initial public stock offer tentatively planned for later this year.