Spotify and Warner Music Group are still fighting over the use of statutory licenses in India. But Spotify is now going live in the country.
Updated: Spotify is already going live throughout India, with screenshots popping up on Twitter and multiple reports of accounts getting started. The monthly charge is as low as $1.67 (translated to USD) for recurring subscription accounts. Daily pay-as-you-go accounts are also being offered, with lots of different discounts applying to upfront access purchases (credit cards aren’t widely held in India, though smartphones are). More details on the rollout ahead; here’s our original report of the breakthrough High Court decision enabling the launch.
In a surprise move yesterday, Warner Music Group (WMG) filed an injunction against Spotify. This seemingly stalled the streaming music giant’s launch in the country.
At the High Court of Mumbai, Warner alleged Spotify had wrongfully asserted a statutory license for the use of works from Warner/Chappell Music. The license would allow the streaming music giant to avoid a formal license from WMG. Warner disagreed with the move, thus filing the injunction.
Revealing that talks had broken down between the company and Warner, Spotify lambasted the filing.
“WMG’s abusive behavior would harm many non-Warner artists, labels, and publishers, and prevent Spotify from competing in the market, leaving us no choice but to file for a statutory license.”
The statutory license, added the company, prevents “WMG’s abusive practices,” thus ensuring all rightsholders receive fair payment.
According to a separate report, the streaming music giant remains close to finalizing deals with Sony Music and Universal.
Now, the High Court of Mumbai has ruled on Warner’s injunction.
Both sides call the ruling a major “win.”
Earlier today, the High Court rejected WMG’s request for an injunction.
Lauding the ruling, a Spotify spokesperson said,
“We’re pleased with today’s outcome. It ensures songwriters, artists, labels, and publishers will benefit from the financial opportunity of the Indian market and that consumers will enjoy an excellent Spotify experience.
“As we’ve said all along, we’re hopeful for a negotiated solution with Warner based on market rates.”
Warner Music Group, however, offered a different take on the ruling.
“We welcome the Court’s decision to direct Spotify to deposit monies with the Court and to maintain complete records of any use of our music as well as all advertising and subscription revenue earned by Spotify. These are positive steps to protect our songwriters’ interests.
“We’re also pleased that Spotify cannot pursue proceedings for their claim to a statutory license before the Intellectual Property Appellate Board for a period of 4 weeks.
“Our copyright infringement case will continue on an expedited basis. Spotify’s comments yesterday about our fair market negotiations were appalling to us, and we’re shocked that they would exploit the valuable rights of songwriters without a license. That said, we remain optimistic that we can reach a strong, balanced commercial agreement.”
The ruling could mean that once Spotify locks down deals with Sony and Universal, a launch could happen in India in a little as 24 hours. Yet, Warner’s “4-weeks” comment has cast that timetable into doubt. Or, if the service does launch soon, the streaming music giant may not be able to offer all of Warner/Chappell Music’s catalog. This includes works from Katy Perry and Led Zeppelin, among many others.
Featured image by Pogaface (CC by 3.0).