Two Music Publishers Hit Spotify With Lawsuits Over Licensing

(CelebrityAccess) — Two independent music publishers hit Spotify with separate lawsuits on Tuesday, alleging the streaming music service failed to secure the correct licenses for thousands of songs, including hits by artists such as Guns N' Roses and Taylor Swift.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, the lawsuits were filed by Bluewater Music Services, a Nashville-based publisher, and music catalog administrator, and Bob Gaudio, a publisher and primary songwriter for the band Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons.

The two lawsuits allege that Spotify failed to follow proper protocol to obtain compulsory licenses for compositions from the publishers, and was thus streaming their music illegally, a charge that has been leveled in other similar streaming lawsuits.

Bluewater's lawsuit identifies 2,339 songs from its catalog that they claim Spotify has been streaming illegally, while Gaudio's claims are narrower but include hits such as "December 1963 (Oh What a Night)," by Franki Valli and the Four Seasons (which Gaudio co-wrote) which has been streamed more than 57 million times on Spotify, the Tennessean said.

The lawsuits are seeking the maximum $150,000 for each unlicensed work in damages.

The suits follow on the heels of similar legal action such as a lawsuit brought against Spotify by the National Music Publishers Association. Spotify settled the NMPA lawsuit for $30 million, but the settlements paved the way for other music publishers to seek legal redress against Spotify, though what death by a thousand cuts for streaming music services would mean for the music industry is not entirely clear.