Spotify is being sued for $1.6 billion by Wixen Music Publishing, which handles titles by Neil Young, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Donald Fagen of Steely Dan, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer and many others. The suit alleges that the music streaming service, in an effort to outpace its competitors, failed to acquire proper composition licenses.
For context, Spotify’s valuation is around $19-20 billion.
Back in May, the company proposed a $43 million settlement to resolve a massive class-action lawsuit brought against it by a collective of artists. That number was scoffed at, including by Wixen executives, and now Spotify faces a suit alleging at least $1.6 billion in damages.
The Wixen suit reads, in part: “Prior to launching in the United States, Spotify attempted to license sound recordings by working with record labels but, in a race to be first to market, made insufficient efforts to collect the required musical composition information and, in turn, failed in many cases to license the compositions embodied within each recording or comply with the requirements of Section 115 of the Copyright Act. Either a direct license from Wixen or a compulsory license would have permitted Spotify to reproduce and/or distribute the Works as part of the Service … [the company knew it] did not possess the infrastructure to obtain the required mechanical licenses and Spotify knew it lacked these licenses.”