back to article Spotify just can't wash those songwriters out of its hair

Spotify is embroiled in new legal objections over how it pays songwriters royalties... or doesn’t, as the songwriters insist. At issue is the mechanical copyright royalty – the amount owed to the composer or songwriter from the reproduction of the recording. Songwriters and composers argue that while Spotify negotiated …

  1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Paying the songwriters

    means less profit to forecast which in turn leads to less IPO Profits for the current management and they'll be unable to buy that island in the carribean at post hurrican knock down prices.

    It would be interesting to know how the other streaming services stack up against Spotify. Is Spotify the only bag egg or are they all up to it?

    I would hope that at least Tidal is paying the artist properly as it is apparently run by one.

  2. The Nazz

    I can't help but wonder if .....

    These songwriters wouldn't be better off writing new compositions than wasting energy, and considerable expenses on lawyers, than making this prolonged fuss.

    You know, precisely like they're supposed to, copyright protection affording them a living for a period of time whilst they create new works.

    If ever the system develops to become a blanket licence/royalty to be fairly divided between all songwriters is the day i will publish an awful lot of crap lyrics set to tuneless musical notes.

    Who knows, in these times, i may well have a hit.

    Wish i'd installed the loos at these collection societies, imagine getting paid everytime someone took a piss or had a dump.

    1. hellwig

      Re: I can't help but wonder if .....

      Yes, copyright is extended to a ridiculous length. Death is bad enough, but death plus 80 years (or whatever Disney has fought for now) is absurd.

      However, that doesn't mean that as the law still applies, Spotify should be able to get away with theft. Spotify should fight to weaken copyright (good luck, the RIAA has the government in it's pocket). Instead, Spotify has typical start-up mentality: "Laws don't apply to me, I'm on the Internet!!111!"

      1. John Lilburne

        Re: I can't help but wonder if .....

        I think you'll find that it is Silicon Valley that has the government in its pocket. Google alone spends 10x more on Washington lobbyist than the whole of the copyright industries combined.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    In the olden days a songwriter was also a music maker. These days a songwriter is from a group employed to churn out songs for an artist, they might write 300 songs in one go and the powers that be will decide which ones they want to use.

    Therefore I have no sympathy for them.

    1. Lysenko

      Re: Songwriters?

      Not really. I'm not aware of Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby or Elvis Presley (for example) writing a significant number of their own songs. A team of writers and composers supporting a performer is actually a return to the traditional model pre-Beatles/Bob Dylan etc.

      1. Anonymous Coward

        Re: Songwriters?

        Nope you're wrong.

        The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra are well known for writing "songs".

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Songwriters?

        I have a question about the class members that did not exclude them selfs as you already probably know the hearing date is December 1, 2017, if the Judge agrees with the objectors what happens to the other class members that accepted the deal can the Judge change the settlement can they increase the settlement for all class members because to me 43.45 million dollars sounds like peanuts is a joke I think if I'm correct every class member will walk away with 5 dollars or less I'm one of the class members the reason I did not exclude myself was because I did not want to put up with the long process of litigation of Copyright infringement because it is hard to prove plus I only have two songs I know for every song that songwriters summit to the court for infringement it values at 150.000 dollars per song what your opinion.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The problem is not really Spotify, it's the major record labels and collection agencies. They are the ones who have the ability to insist on a deal for mechanical royalties and handle collection, but as far as they're concerned they've already made their money so don't care. Record labels are much more protective of their performance rights due to weird quirks of copyright and royalties. It's not because any of them care about artists in any way whatsoever.

    I work in an industry related to these idiots and the balls on them are astounding. They constantly insist that they have a legal right to force musicians to get a license through them to press their own CDs (generally, they don't). The only people who can actually get any kind of money back through the collection system are huge labels and huge artists. Most artists end up actually owing money for licensed pressings of their own music.

    Personally I think it's time that someone came up with a direct automated system that bypasses these scumbags.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      They have, it's called YouTube.

      Unfortunately you just deal with another set of scumbags.

    2. John Lilburne

      No it is mostly the fault of spotify and similar. No one has forced spotify to use works where they don't know who the owner is. That was a decision that they made on their own.

      They entered a market failed to adhere to the rules of the market and now complain that adherence is a burden. Its a bit like an online green grocer driving around country lanes harvesting crops from fields they come across, and then complaining that they can't pay the farmer because the fields didn't have signs with the farmers address on it.

  5. Gunboat Diplomat

    I don't understand

    Why do Spotify have to pay the songwriter if they've already paid the record label? I really don't see why the songwriter should be paid a royalty by the consumer of a recording (or distributor or whatever spotify is considered) by the consumer of said recording when the publisher of said recording has been paid - why shouldn't this be covered under the recording deal (i.e. publisher gets paid for use of recording, they sort out their own commercial deals with the songwriter)?

    It just seems a messy approach with the only certain outcome being the creation of repeated legal issues.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I don't understand

      "Why do Spotify have to pay the songwriter if they've already paid the record label? "

      Typically, it's because the Songwriters have nothing to do with the Record label. Add to that, they record may be released with one label say in the US and a completely different label than the UK. It's less common these days, but historically it was very common.

      1. ELMUSICO

        Re: I don't understand

        Because they re the creator of the work is like if you create a music composition you own if you are the owner giving you the right to do whatever you want to do with your property that's what they call Intellectual Property.

    2. strum

      Re: I don't understand

      >Why do Spotify have to pay the songwriter if they've already paid the record label?

      Because copyright for the recording is quite different from copyright for the song. Two parallel systems - who don't necessarily get on with each other.

  6. A Nonny Moose

    "Why is this so F’ing hard?"

    Yes, why is this so F'ing hard? Shirley it should be that Spotify pays the record label/artist and then the record label/artist pays the songwriter and whoever else they have to. But then that's far too simple a solution and doesn't involve enough lawyers skimming off the top.

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