Eminem Throws Slim Shady At Spotify
Last week Eminem made headlines by filing a lawsuit against Spotify for up to $36.5M based on the streamer allegedly playing 243 of his works without paying the proper performance or publisher royalties. At the heart of the lawsuit is a new piece of legislation called the Music Monetization Act (MMA), which was signed into law by President Trump last year. Among other things, the MMA set up a system to match performers/publishers to songs being streamed through a system called the Mechanical Licensing Collective. The intent of process is to catch any unlicensed streams of songs and pay artists/songwriters for their work.
In his lawsuit Eminem alleges Spotify slightly reproduced original versions of his songs, including “Lose Yourself” from the Eight Mile soundtrack, and then categorized these versions into an MMA designation called “Copyright Control” which is supposed to be used only when the actual performer or songwriter isn’t known. Since normal royalties are not paid for songs designated in the Copyright Control bucket, Eminem is claiming he’s lost out of millions of income from billions of plays.
On one level it’s pretty hard to understand how Spotify could claim that they didn’t know who wrote and sang “Lose Yourself” – the song is literally about Eminem’s life story. On a deeper level there’s the accusation that Spotify is intentionally reproducing hits in order to bury them in the Copyright Control unknown artist graveyard. If that’s true Spotify will have used an MMA loophole to hurt artists, which is the exact opposite intent of the law.
I’m sure we’ll hear plenty more about this one from Mr. Mathers . . .