Spotify Not Out Of The Legal Woods Yet
You might remember earlier this year when groups representing song publishers sued Spotify over the unlicensed streaming of their music. One of these lawsuits, from Bluewater Music Services, alleged that Spotify played their members’ songs illegally 2,300 times. Since each infraction could carry a max penalty of $150,000, Spotify suddenly found itself staring down the barrel of a $345M lawsuit.
This week Spotify and Bluewater headed to court, where the streamer asked to have the lawsuit thrown out. The Federal judge sided with Bluewater and refused to have the case dismissed, which means there will most likely be some sort of negotiated settlement payment for Bluewater. Spotify has already ponied up a $43M payout to a different publishing group who represents The Doors and Tom Petty, so the damages are adding up.
The real problem with this ruling for Spotify is yet another lawsuit that’s been filed for similar copyright violations. This one is from Wixen Music Publishing and it’s for $1.6B (yes, with a B). Spotify’s sum of all fears is that these smaller cases set a precedent for Wixen, which would leave them on the hook for a settlement in hundreds of millions. (insert Gulp sfx here)