Spotify's troubled relationship with songwriters and music publishers took a another hit this week, as two new lawsuits by music publishers were filed over alleged unlicensed use of more that 2500 songs, including several hit titles.
Nashville music publishers Rob Gaudino and Bluewater Music have each filed lawsuits alleging that Spotify failed to obtain the proper licenses to stream more than 2500 songs. Gaudino was the principle songwriter for the Four Seasons.
Spotify has yet to respond to the filing.
Named in the lawsuit are several easily recognizable songs including “Bye, Bye Baby,” “Can’t Take My Eyes Off You” and “Rag Doll. Gaudino lists 106 compositions and Bluewater Music names 2399 songs, all allegedly streamed on Spotify without licences. Both new plaintiffs are represented by Richard S. Busch of the Nashville law firm of King & Ballow, and royalty tracker Audiam helped uncover the infringements.
Spotify has been the subject of several major lawsuits from music publishers and songwriters. The National Association of Music Publishers (NMPA) settled with the streamer last year, as was more recently, a class action suit brought by musicians and songwriters Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery.
But the problem appears to persist.
"For years we had been sending them the information for the compositions and the sound recordings of those compositions that had not been paid on pointing out they were unlicensed and non-compliant," said Audium co-founder Jeff Price. "Spotify raised over $2.5 billion in private equity and venture capital, I don’t understand why they didn’t invest some of that into building the required systems to resolve the issues or do it correctly to begin with."
"As we say in the Complaint, songwriters and publishers should not have to work this hard to get paid, or have their life work properly licensed, and companies should not be allowed to build businesses on the concept of infringe now and ask questions later," Bush said in a statement.