Music Business

Warner Music Files Suit To Stop Spotify India Launch, Streamer Claims ‘Abusive Behavior’

SpotifyWarner Music Group and it's Warner Chappell Music (WCM) publishing division filed an injunction in Mumbai on Monday to stop Spotify from launching its streaming service in India. WMG is alleging that the streamer has not obtained the proper publishing licenses.

Warner's court filing came after reports surfaced that Spotify was prepared to launch in India without a deal, using a statutory publishing license written for TV and radio broadcasters.

Deals for India between Spotify, Universal and Sony are reportedly in the final stages, according to multiple sources, with WMG concerned primarily about the lower rate that Spotify will pay for it's free ad-supported streaming service.

“After months of negotiations, Spotify abruptly changed course and has falsely asserted a statutory license for our songwriters’ music publishing rights in India. WMG said in a statement. We had no choice but to ask an Indian court for an injunction to prevent this. It’s our goal to hammer out a deal that works for everyone. We hope this is just a speed bump in the expansion of our long and successful global partnership.”

Spotify Replies

"WMG’s abusive behavior would harm

many non-Warner artists, labels and publishers"

In a strong statement, Spotify pushed back and WMG and WCM:

"…WCM remains the lone hold-out needed for a Spotify launch in India.

…WMG’s abusive behavior would harm many non-Warner artists, labels and publishers, and prevent Spotify from competing in the market, leaving us no choice but to file for a statutory license. This statutory license, which allows for application to internet-based services, prevents WMG’s abusive practices, while ensuring all rights holders are compensated fairly."

The dispute comes as Spotify enters into global re-licencing negotiations with all three major music groups. 

MORE: Full Text Of Spotify, WMG Dueling Statements On India Lawsuit and Launch

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