Exclusive: Spotify, Major Songwriters Preparing a Massive Out-of-Court Settlement

Spotify, Songwriters About to Make Good?

Spotify and a number of major US-based music publishers are now preparing an out-of-court settlement over unpaid publishing royalties, according to confidential details shared with Digital Music News this morning.

This is a breaking story, with more information and sources (on the record and off) forthcoming.  Please check back for ongoing updates.

The settlement, expected to be announced as soon as this week, will revolve around mechanical licenses, a specific type of music copyright at the center of an onslaught of lawsuits.  Collectively, those lawsuits could reach damages in the hundreds of millions of dollars, with Spotify already slapped with multiple class actions with estimated damages of roughly $200 million.

Other on-demand services like Microsoft’s Xbox Music and Groove Music have already reached early, out-of-court agreements, suggesting strong, ‘slam dunk’ cases by publishing plaintiffs.

Against that extremely expensive backdrop, urgent settlement agreement negotiations have been happening, according to a pair of sources to Digital Music News.  A chief negotiator for the settlement appears to be the National Music Publishers’ Association, or NMPA, a DC-based industry group that represents the interests of a long list of publishers and songwriters.  That list includes many of the largest publishing interests in the United States, many of whom may be interested in reaching a quick agreement without expending massive litigation resources.

National Music Publishers’ Association CEO David Israelite confirmed the settlement discussions with Digital Music News on Monday, while agreeing to offer more details at a later point.  “NMPA has been engaged in negotiations over the failure by several digital music services to license and pay songwriters and music publishers appropriately,” Israelite confirmed to DMN via email.   “I am hopeful that we can reach a just settlement that provides a framework for moving forward as business partners – as it should be.”

Spotify has also been contacted for more information, specifically via its PR agency Outcast Agency, but has not yet responded.  Ahead of more details from either party, here are the details on the agreement according to DMN sources:

(a) The settlement will call for Spotify to create a dedicated matching interface for publishers and songwriters to properly pair their recordings with their publishing rights.  This has been a major complaint by Spotify, which has argued that songs are not being supplied with accurate data on who owns what, and who should be paid.

(b) After those matches are made and verified (via Spotify and/or the NMPA), unreleased and unpaid mechanical licensing money will be remitted.  These unpaid royalties will be cumulative to the first unpaid stream (potentially dating back to 2007-8).

(c) Updated rights information will then be shared with the Harry Fox Agency, or HFA, which administers mechanical licensing for Spotify.  That updated information will in turn be shared with other HFA partners, specifically other on-demand streaming services, to facilitate the proper payout of previous mechanical royalties.

(d) After a certain period, unclaimed mechanical publishing royalties will be paid to the NMPA, and divided among NMPA members based on total market share.  According to that plan, smaller songwriters and publishers would miss payments entirely if not apprised of the plan.

(e) At this stage, it remains unclear if this updated rights data will be shared with other agencies that handle mechanical rights licensing, including Music Reports, Inc., or YouTube-owned Rightsflow.

(f) As part of the settlement, Spotify will be assessed a one-time penalty, understood to be in the order of $5 million.  That, coupled with participation in the settlement, will absolve Spotify of any future liability litigation, at least among participating publishers and songwriters (and possibly, all NMPA members).

A key negotiator on the deal within the NMPA appears to be General Counsel & SVP of Business Affairs Danielle Aguirre, copied on initial correspondence between Digital Music News and Israelite (bio here).  It is unclear who the specific negotiators for Spotify or other streaming services might be.

In terms of participation, major publishers Universal Music Publishing Group and Sony/ATV appear to have signed onto the pact, with mega-publisher Warner/Chappell still a holdout.

At this stage, we have no other information on settlement participants, though a large group of litigants in the recently-filed Spotify class action are specifically non-NMPA and non-HFA members.

In terms of when the deal with be announced, sources only indicated that the parties are ‘working very rapidly’ to finalize terms and move forward with the agreement. Adding extreme urgency to the matter are a growing pile of lawsuits, with aggressive plaintiffs like David Lowery, Yesh Music, and others expanding the list of defendants and aggressively adding members to the class action.

The settlement could offer a serious blow to those lawsuits and specifically class actions against Spotify and other streaming services.  According to sources, the settlement would effectively ‘reduce the addressable class‘, i.e., lower the number of potential participants, while also presenting a viable settlement solution to judges hearing the complaints.

Already, reactions to the upcoming settlement have been mixed.  The $5 million, one-time penalty against Spotify, if confirmed, has been blasted as a ‘slap on the wrist,’ while letting the company off the hook for failing to properly license works prior to making them available.  On top of that, the on-site matching interface has been criticized as ‘free homework’ for diligence Spotify should have already completed, while bolstering out-of-date information at HFA (itself formerly owned by NMPA).  “The NMPA has been accused of not getting this job done,” one frustrated source relayed.

“Now, they’re making money from their own inability to get the job done.”

Others continue to point a damning finger at the Harry Fox Agency, an organization that has been blamed for failing to maintain accurate databases and properly alert its customers (i.e., streaming services) of the coming tsunami.  HFA is currently owned by SESAC and private equity interests.

Image by Hugh D’Andrade, remixed under CC by 3.0.

 

 

29 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    These negotiations have been going on for many months and are not at all related to the class action litigation.

    Reply
    • Paul Resnikoff
      Paul Resnikoff

      David Israelite actually emailed a second time to say this very thing, that negotiations were ongoing and aren’t just starting. Fair enough, this is the first we’ve heard of mechanicals-based negotiations, and frankly they couldn’t have started a few days ago. I will say that it’s interesting that we’re hearing about this just as class actions are spiraling out of control (not to mention Yesh settling with Microsoft, etc.) So, that’s all I know, putting it out there. I’ll hopefully be discussing with Israelite more later.

      Reply
      • Troglite

        I could be completely off, but my overall impression is that:

        NMPA negotiations were referenced in the very first articles covering Lowery’s law suits precisely because they were already underway and they would make establishing a class-action more difficult. These negotiations are private, so very little details regarding the specific issues or proposed remedies were available at the time.

        Now, the first meaningful details about these negotiations and a possible settlement are being leaked. Yes, the timing seems convenient… but I suspect this reflects an effort to accelerate these negotiations in order to further undermine/complicate any attempts to establish class-action lawsuits.

        The whole NMPA settlement seems like an attempt to resolve these licensing errors quietly behind the scenes. If the class action suits had never been filed, we’d probably know a lot less about the details of these negotiations. In my opinion, the nepotism between the parties is further reason to be cautious/suspicious about the true intentions and fairness of any settlement between them.

        Reply
      • Name2

        The whole NMPA settlement seems like an attempt to resolve these licensing errors quietly behind the scenes.

        You misspelled “extort”.

        Hey kids, let’s play a new game! “Make up mechanicals!!

        Reply
    • Musician Who Understands

      “This is the first we’ve heard of mechanicals-based negotiations,…”

      Uh, you reported on these discussions, weeks (months?) ago. Commenters have been talking about it for that long, as well.

      AS has been noted, these discussion are not just with Spotify, either. NMPA has been having these talks with several streaming services. NMPA entered into the same type of settlements, for unmatched mechanical royalties, with major record companies, 5 years ago.

      How much LESS attention could you actually pay, to the very business you claim to be “the authority” on?!?!?!?!

      Oh, can you also please tell us which “class actions” are “spiraling out of control”???

      You give the very notion of wishful thinking a bad name.

      Reply
      • Paul Resnikoff
        Paul Resnikoff

        Sorry, my sniff test is picking up something here. So, every major streaming service is suddenly at risk of a major, $200 million class action, Microsoft settles, Google gets sued, and another very massive lawsuit is on the way (see DMN this evening), and this is just ‘ongoing negotiations’? Sorry, that doesn’t quite smell right.

        Spotify isn’t going to just pay a $5 million settlement, unless it means they don’t have to pay a $200 million settlement. And you’ve never read the terms above in any ‘ongoing negotiations’…

        Please.

        Reply
      • Musician Who Understands

        Please, indeed.

        The level of ignorance that you routinely display is bettered only by your staunch resistance to actually acknowledge any new information or facts, because they indicate you don’t actually know what you’re talking about and don’t support your ill-informed theories.

        Your “sniff test” might be picking something up only because you have no idea what is actually going on. Like so:

        “So, every major streaming service is suddenly at risk of a major, $200 million class action,…”

        Seriously????

        You actually think that the risk of these claims is “sudden”????

        Have you been paying ANY ATTENTION to the Copyright Office’s study on music licensing, or ANY of the comments filed as a part of it, from last year? The Congressional hearings on copyright and music licensing that occurred last year? The recent Commerce Department whitepaper on “Remixes, First Sale and Statutory Damages”???

        The existence of statutory damages, and the need for some type of comprehensive database so that licensees facing those claims can actually know what is available and from who, is a a CENTRAL theme to ALL of that important, recent activity – that you are entirely ignorant of.

        The only thing that that doesn’t quite smell right here, is your continued attempt to appoint yourself “the authority for digital music” while you remain willfully oblivious to important facts, events and issues like these.

        “Spotify isn’t going to just pay a $5 million settlement, unless it means they don’t have to pay a $200 million settlement.”

        So says Judge Paul I-Prove-I-Know-Nothing-Every-Day Resnikoff, Esq.?

        You know even less about what would motivate a settlement than you do about the ongoing issues in music licensing.

        Spotify is settling with the money it has been holding in escrow, specifically for this purpose. They know they haven’t matched every song they have on the service with every single songwriter and music publisher. They can’t. No one can – that’s the problem.

        So, Spotify just holds that money in escrow. What they are agreeing to pay NMPA is a portion of those escrowed funds – which the rest of us, who are paying attention, all seem to agree are in the $20m range – , which will be distributed to music publishers, in exchange for indemnifications against these claims from the publishers who participate.

        Simple.

        This is not rocket science. Nor is it “:sudden,” or evidence of some conspiracy or suspicious coincidence, just because YOU haven’t been paying attention to what everyone else already understands.

        And this, is just too precious:

        “And you’ve never read the terms above in any ‘ongoing negotiations’…”

        By “the terms above” do you mean the specific $5m figure? The other terms on how the matching and exchange of information is going to work?

        As I’ve already said, this settlement incorporates many of the terms of the now-five-years-old settlement with the record labels for similar unmatched and unpaid funds. But of course, you wouldn’t know anything about that, either.

        As for the general knowledge that these negotiations aren’t some type of “sudden” response to the Lowery, Ferrick and/or YESH complaints, but have have been going on for quite some time, these discussions have been written about by your own contributors and commenters, for months.

        Charlotte Hassan wrote about “Spotify is in the midst of trying to settle with the NMPA after being sued [sic] for failing to accurately monitor the payments of royalties” back in December.

        * Spotify has never been sued by NMPA.

        http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2015/12/29/spotify-is-being-sued-for-150-million-over-unpaid-royalties/

        Ari Herstand wrote about Spotify’s global head of communications, Jonathan Prince’s, statement: “When rightsholders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities. We are working closely with the National Music Publishers Association to find the best way to correctly pay the royalties we have set aside and we are investing in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem for good.” back in December, as well.

        http://www.digitalmusicnews.com/2015/12/30/why-exactly-is-spotify-being-sued-and-what-does-this-mean/

        Several commenters in both threads discussed the ongoing negotiations between Spotify (and others) and NMPA, when those threads were live.

        Wake up, you moron.

        Reply
      • Anonymous Too

        Amazing use of selective facts to mount a personal attack and promote your own beliefs.

        Amazing how the music industry managed to get by for decades without a magical unicorn database of every recording and songwriting split… but now the fact that such a database has NEVER existed is held up as a justification for mass-scale infringement.

        Amazing how a number of technology companies believe they have the legal right to use recordings without sending NOI’s or negotiating direct licenses like literally every other company in the industry.

        Amazing how Paul has never claimed to be the all-knowing guru you describe, and yet you continue to return to his site, read the content, and post personal attacks.

        Amazing how anyone could think that simply setting some money aside for legal costs justifies breaking the law. Combined with the back-dated NOI’s that many companies have recently sent, it only makes the clear intent more troubling.

        Reply
      • Anonymous Three

        Ha!!!

        “Amazing how the music industry managed to get by for decades without a magical unicorn database of every recording and songwriting split… but now the fact that such a database has NEVER existed is held up as a justification for mass-scale infringement.”

        What part of: “The record companies were forced into a similar settlement, 5 years ago” do you need to be repeated? Should we type it slower, for you?

        What part of the fact that they distributed OVER $400,000,000 (far, faaaar, more than the total P&E for ALL streaming services, combined) to music publishers, makes you think that this problem never existed before, or is unique to “technology companies”?

        “Amazing how Paul has never claimed to be the all-knowing guru you describe, and yet you continue to return to his site, read the content, and post personal attacks.”

        Um… what part of the appearance of THIS self-aggrandizement – which is what was quoted – on EVERY SINGLE PAGE of this site are you unable to read?

        Paul Resnikoff Publisher

        Hello! I’m the founder and publisher of Digital Music News, the authority for people in music. My coverage focus spans streaming platforms, artist royalties,…

        Amazing how you are stupid enough to confuse escrowing actual royalties owed is “simply setting some money aside for legal costs.”

        Anything else you want to post to show how ignorant you are?

        You make this kinda fun!

        Reply
      • Anonymous Too

        Anonymous Three wrote:
        What part of: “The record companies were forced into a similar settlement, 5 years ago” do you need to be repeated? Should we type it slower, for you?

        Congratulations for proving that you understand how to behave like an @ss.

        Anonymous Three wrote:
        “Um… what part of the appearance of THIS self-aggrandizement – which is what was quoted – on EVERY SINGLE PAGE of this site are you unable to read? Paul Resnikoff Publisher”

        Apparently, you do NOT understand marketing or hyperbole. As they say, don’t hate the player, hate the game. More importantly, your insult makes it crystal clear that the only person who is holding themselves above other people within this dialogue is YOU. When met with disagreement on DMN, Paul consistently demonstrates a desire to understand the other person’s position and respect for honest discourse. You just throw around insults and bully.

        Anonymous Three wrote:
        Amazing how you are stupid enough to confuse escrowing actual royalties owed is “simply setting some money aside for legal costs.”

        I suspect you are aware that there are significant questions about whether these funds can be considered “in escrow” when the songwriters aren’t a party to any escrow agreement. But, kudos for finding a place to squeeze in another insult.

        Clearly, you have useful knowledge that you want to share. I sincerely would like to hear what you have to say. But, your attitude makes me question whether your motive is to inform or manipulate. So, let’s get back to the conclusions you draw from the facts you’ve presented.

        A lawsuit that was SETTLED 5 years ago in NO WAY proves that it is literally unfeasible for a company to follow the law by sending NOI’s or negotiating direct licenses. Why didn’t companies like Spotify limit the contents of their online streaming catalog to the songs that they had successfull obtained all licenses for? So far, the information I have seen indicates that it was certainly inconvenient for them to do so. But, I am not aware of any business or technical barrier that would actually make this impossible or even unreasonable. Negotiate a license, issue a NOI, or don’t allow use of the song. That seems very simple, doesn’t it?

        Or should we focus on the meaningful differences between these two lawsuits? That’s a bit more difficult b/c you haven’t provided much detail. Are you referring to the 2006 suit that involved Sony and the Allman Brothers?

        I will be the first to admit that I have a limited understanding of the Sony/Allman Brothers case, but I believe the issue was that several recording labels were paying the artists and songwriters less than they were entitled as a result of mis-categorizing “downloads” and other questionable accounting practices tied to the sale of physical CD’s. The labels simply believed that this was the correct way to calculate payments for digital sales. I believe Sony was eventually proven wrong as a result of these legal actions.

        As far as I know, there were no significant factors related to identifying splits, issusing NOI’s, or magical unicorn databases. When licenses weren’t paid it was the result of how the transaction was categorized, not an inability to identify the rights holder.

        So, EXACTLY what “similarities” were you intending to highlight?

        Reply
      • Anonymous Three

        Y’know, I typed out a complete, point-by-point rebuttal, replete with specific, humiliating responses. Then I stopped.

        I’m going to try a kinder, gentler approach, here. Just so you understand, however, the reason I tend to be so caustic in the way I point out the many, many shortcomings of the “articles” and reader comments in here is because it is just so frustrating to see so much ignorance – and indeed overly-confidently-stated and celebratory ignorance.

        ” Apparently, you do NOT understand marketing or hyperbole.”

        See, this is a rather basic debating mis-step. You changed the argument, once your initial point was proven wrong.

        Initially, you actually said: “Paul has never claimed to be the all-knowing guru…

        I responded to THAT specific statement, by showing you exactly how Paul DOES claim to be “the authority.

        End of that point. You were wrong. You said Paul never claimed something that he claims, in writing, on every single page of this website.

        But, instead of acknowledging that, you instead tried to switch your position away form the hard facts, and instead try to assert a new “permissible marketing” argument. And trying to suggest that someone “doesn’t understand” marketing.

        Really?

        Sorry. You lost – TWICE.

        1) Paul did – and does – continue to claim precisely what you said he “never claimed.”

        2) Your “permissible marketing” argument is entirely new and NOT the subject (as well as both entirely subjective and clearly wrong in the objective).

        Next:

        ”I suspect you are aware that there are significant questions about whether these funds can be considered “in escrow” when the songwriters aren’t a party to any escrow agreement. But, kudos for finding a place to squeeze in another insult.”

        No. I am not aware of any condition, regulation, prohibition or other issue that would result in “significant questions” about an escrow account that relate to the beneficiary needing to be party to an “escrow agreement.” An escrow is simply a separate holding, to be liquidated or discharged upon a certain condition having been met. An escrow account can be set up without an “escrow agreement.”

        What I DO suspect, is that you raised the topic of these alleged “significant questions” about “escrow agreements” (which only you brought up) because you really don’t know of them either, and you aren’t paying attention. Of course, I’ll give you the opportunity to prove me wrong and feel free to let me know any specific “significant questions” that you are aware of, that arise when considering the proper escrowing of funds, if the potential beneficiary is not a named party to an “escrow agreement.”

        Next:

        ”A lawsuit that was SETTLED 5 years ago in NO WAY proves that it is literally unfeasible for a company to follow the law by sending NOI’s or negotiating direct licenses.”

        Again, you seem to not be able to pay attention to the argument being advanced or to the facts or details.

        1) There wasn’t any “lawsuit” that was settled. It was a voluntary settlement of outstanding amounts. NMPA nor any music publisher EVER sued the labels for the pending and unmatched funds.

        2) The point being made had NOTHING to with trying to suggest that that “it is literally unfeasible for a company to follow the law by sending NOI’s.”

        Again, please track the response to the argument that YOU made. YOU said:

        “Amazing how the music industry managed to get by for decades without a magical unicorn database of every recording and songwriting split… but now the fact that such a database has NEVER existed is held up as a justification for mass-scale infringement.”

        Pointing out the RIAA settlement 5 years ago addresses the erroneous assertions that:

        a) “the music industry managed to get by for decades without a magical unicorn database” Because it DIDN’T “manage to get by.” The RIAA withheld almost half a billion dollars in unpaid royalties. They did that for years. They were threatened with lawsuits and saddled with a statutorily-imposed late fee sought by NMPA, because the problem was so bad. All that had to happen before the labels gave up all the unmatched and unpaid royalties.

        b) “but now the fact that such a database has NEVER existed is held up as a justification…”

        Again, no. See above. The lack of a database HAS BEEN a problem – FOR DECADES.

        c) “…for mass-scale infringement.”

        Again, no. The “infringement” occurring on Spotify is a tiny fraction of the even more egregious “infringement” that the record labels were responsible for. Indeed, as I pointed out, the ENTIRE unpaid royalties from ALL streaming services COMBINED, still only equals a fraction of what the record companies owed.

        NOW, do you understand now, what similarities I am addressing?

        This is NOT new. It is NOT a “new problem. It is NOT – in ANY WAY – unique to digital services. Indeed, it has ALWAYS BEEN a problem and is – and has been – far, FAR worse, with record companies.

        Reply
      • Anonymous Too

        Thanks for dropping the attitude (mostly). Yes, you did help me understand your position and I learned something in the process.

        Perhaps i’m less frustrated because I don’t expect to find high quality editorial content on DMN. At least, not intentionally. 😉

        Reply
        • Anonymous Too

          Btw, in case your interest was sincere…. my understanding is that by definition an escrow account requires at least 3 parties who enter into a joint agreement. It exists because there is some unresolved, shared risk between two parties which is why a trusted third party is required.

          So, my understanding is that the legal filings in question are between individual songwriters and spotify. If spotify and their bank have an escrow account for unpaid royalties, who are the other parties to this account? TBD??

          Reply
        • Anonymous Three

          “my understanding is that by definition an escrow account requires at least 3 parties who enter into a joint agreement. It exists because there is some unresolved, shared risk between two parties which is why a trusted third party is required.”

          No. You’re incorrect, on several fronts.

          First, you are once again not paying attention to details. You seem to be interchanging the terms “escrow account” and “escrow agreement.” They are two different (albeit obviously related) things.

          I can set up an escrow account at any time, without anyone else being involved. There may be formalities that banking institutions want, if you want to set up an account, to be held in their institutions but, those would be individually, imposed business requirements and not anything absolute or mandatory about escrow accounts, in general.

          Moving on, it is true that often, escrow agreements involve several named parties – and often involve establishing an escrow account, but again, they don’t have to.

          Also, there is absolutely no requirement of at least 3 parties, to enter into a joint agreement. None. Indeed, many escrow agreements only have two parties. Many record industry escrow arrangements are only between two parties – like accounts for reserves on old catalog, returns, etc. In these agreements, the party with the funds holds them in escrow, for the benefit of the other party, until liquidation.

          While a “trusted third party” is often sought, when there is no established relationship between the parties, it is in NO WAY required. Again, as a part of long-standing, ongoing business relationships, one party holding escrow for the other is quite common.

          Here, Spotify has established an escrow account for unpaid royalties, so that they are identified and do not get co-mingled with ongoing operating funds. Ultimately, the goal would be to pay out those escrowed funds, once Spotify identifies who the proper payee is/are.

          This is a fairly common occurrence in business, also with parties like States and municipalities that can levy/refund taxes and don’t know exactly who to credit or pay, insurance companies “reserving” for anticipated claims, and many others.

          Reply
          • Anonymous Too

            I will admit that my background in corporate governance probably skews my perspective toward specific use cases. I will also admit that the manner in which you apply the term escrow is commonplace.

            But, in legal terms… we’ll have to agree to disagree. Clearly, you won’t take my word for it. I felt this summary on learnvest.com was especially clear:

            “Consult Investopedia and you’ll see that the official definition for escrow is “a financial instrument held by a third party on behalf of the other two parties in a transaction.” Basically, that’s a technical way of saying that the money is sitting in a secure account that’s owned by neither the buyer nor the seller—rather, it’s being watched over by an escrow officer until a deal is finalized.

            …But there’s also another version of escrow that people can use to help keep their budgets in check: personal escrow.

            ….Just note that, while we use the term “personal escrow,” the account you set up isn’t legally an escrow account—it’s simply a checking or savings account, with a specific purpose.”

            Now… if you’re still interested in this topic, what rate do you think Spotify is using when depositing funds into this account? The statutory rate??? My understanding is that Spotify is no longer legally able to make use of the compulsory rate on these works… they have to negotiate a direct license if they want to continue to use them. Does that match your understanding?

          • Anonymous Three

            You can agree to disagree, based on a some website definitions of specific, common escrow instruments, if you like. I’m not going to try and convince you otherwise. I assume that you won’t believe me when I tell you that I have personally both established and participated in/benefited form two party escrow arrangements (as well as more formal, arm’s length three party deals). No need for a third party escrow agent.

            You can believe what you want to believe.

            “Now… if you’re still interested in this topic, what rate do you think Spotify is using when depositing funds into this account? The statutory rate???”

            Likely none. There is no obligation to accrue or pay earned interest on these funds (which are being held entirely voluntarily – as a show of good behavior for exactly the purposes that the Lowery and Ferrick suits have made clear).

            “My understanding is that Spotify is no longer legally able to make use of the compulsory rate on these works… they have to negotiate a direct license if they want to continue to use them. Does that match your understanding?”

            Technically, yes. Once a party has violated the compulsory license, it is no longer compulsorily available.

            Again, Spotify knows this. They have held the unpaid royalties as a show of good intentions. I imagine this will be something they rely on, if they ever get to the point of defending the charge of “willful infringement”.

            They aren’t trying to NOT pay royalties. They know what the royalty obligation is, and so they can set the money aside. It is that they simply can’t find the licensees or obtain NOI’s in any efficient manner.

          • Annonymous Too

            I think my universe is large enough to accommodate those possibilities. 🙂

            I think we’ll have to wait for new facts to come forth before there’s more to say on the Lowery and Ferrick cases. Your positions seem reasonable.

            I enjoyed the questions you posed to Rob Filomena. I appreciated that you omitted the hostility that was so prevalent at the beginning of this thread.

  2. Anonymous

    also, this settlement will likely undermine the class actions and get them thrown out, as they provide proof that settlement can be reached without certifying a class.

    Reply
    • CPC 134

      You mean a “settlement” between NMPA which owned HFA at the time the non-licensing event took place and while HFA was working for Spotify to get the licenses? A settlement between everyone that was in on the long con? So as soon as you put that up as proof a settlement can be made you open the deal up to scrutiny by a federal judge! You know where this leads? This leads to a judge suddenly digging into the relationship between NMPA-HFA-Spotify. Wow. If Spotify/NMPA really thinks this is a good idea they really are stupid. I hope this happens. It will be like Enron.

      Reply
    • CPC 134

      Settlement probably has more to do with current effort by Spotify to raise more money.

      Reply
  3. JoJo

    It is ludicrous, absolutely ridiculous, that the Harry Fox Agency has anything to do with this proposed settlement. They are the ones who contributed to this mess to begin with. If they didn’t intend to recreate the YouTube class action and pending and unmatched settlement, it’s hard to see what else HFA could have done to assure that outcome. HFA is conflicted to begin with and now they are going to perpetuate the myth that they know how to get this job done.

    While wringing their hands about transparency, Spotify gets away with never having to publicly disclose who they are holding money for (even on a song title basis), never having to obtain proper licenses, and the major publishers get a market share of unclaimed royalties. That’s just corrupt. How can anyone settle for any songwriter who didn’t authorize a settlement?

    This is why class actions against all these services are critical. Songwriters need to have the antiseptic of sunlight in the form of a federal judge and class representatives with subpoena power to get these cockroaches out of the shadows.

    Reply
  4. Aman Aplan

    How’s that $5 million going to be shared? Let’s see, Universal, Sony ATV, Warner/Chappell, EMI, Kobalt…yes that’s 5.

    Reply
  5. Simon

    Which “major songwriters” are involved? Any names? Or is that secret, too? Didnt you mean major PUBLISHERS?

    Reply
  6. Mikey

    Where is this money coming from? Spotify is losing money, so where are they getting all these millions? Probably taking away from their escrow of independent songwriter royalties. Robbing Peter for Paul and doing it right in front of the world. Wow, that’s some balls.

    Reply
    • Troglite

      You hit upon what might be most threatening about these lawsuits from Spotify’s perspective. Its hard to get additional funding rounds from investors when large, expensive legal actions remain unresolved. Spotify’s cashflow could get very tricky if this drags out. Rhapsody could face similar challenges based on their most recent financials posted on this site.

      Reply
      • Securities and Exchange

        Agreed. Hence Spotify leaking this story before the deal is signed! “See we took care of the problem Dark Lord Blankfein, now may we have our $500 in convertible debt “

        Reply
    • Hey Mikey!!!

      Hey Mikey!!!

      You do know what the capital markets are, don’t you? You do know there’s money in them there investors, right?

      Reply

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