Spotify Begins Label Licensing Talks Amid Major Disputes
Spotify has begun negotiations to renew its licencees with all three major labels and other rights holders. The talks begin with Spotify on the offensive against the music industry on multiple fronts.
The streamer must reach new deals this year with Universal Music, Sony Music, and Warner Music, which together control about two-thirds of Spotify's catalog.
But in just the last three weeks, Spotify has filed an anti-trust complaint against Apple in the EU, lodged an objection to an increase in songwriter streaming royalties with the US Copyright Royalty Board and became locked in battle with Warner Music Group after launching in India without a signed deal with its music publishing arm, Warner/Chappell.
It's those last two disputes that most concern labels and music publishers, and will likely make coming to an agreement much more difficult.
Rightsholders are also very concerned about the revenue they receive from Spotify's free tier, particularly as the streamer expands into more emerging markets with an audience far less likely to pay for music and ultra-low subscription pricing for those few that that do.
If negotiations get tough, all sides could just extend their current arrangements for another year, reports The Financial Times.