A Swedish recording artist has sued his record label to have his material removed from the Spotify music streaming service. The court upheld his claims, that the label does not have the right to distribute his music for streaming, and ordered the material removed.
There has been an increasing backlash against Spotify by artists who claim they are being cheated or paid unfairly by the streaming music service. Recently, a writer of the hit song by Meghan Trainor, "All About That Bass," revealed that he received less than $6,000 in total for a whopping 178 million streams of the tune.
Hit recording artist La Roux of "Bulletproof" fame recently sent out a sarcastic tweet to Spotify, stating: "@Spotify thanks for the £100 ($151.73 USD) for this quarter just gone, one more month and I might be able to afford your premium service. Lucky me!"
Now, a Swedish recording artist who didn't want his music streamed on Spotify at all, has sued his record label and won. Swedish punk drummer Johan Johansson filed a civil suit in his country against his record label, MNW, for distributing his music through Spotify without permission. Johansson argued that even though the label owned the rights to his master recordings, there was no area of the contract that expressly permitted his music to be streamed on any service.
After his victory, Johansson stated, "We have to hope that this sets a standard, and makes it clear that companies can't exploit music without the appropriate contractual rights. Even without a license to distribute older tracks on streaming platforms, a lot of companies simply go ahead anyway. What this judgment shows [is] that a lot of music on Spotify and similar streaming services are straight piracy."
Johansson's claims were recently corroborated by ex-Lady Gaga manager Troy Carter, who claimed that his artist was cheated out of royalties due from Spotify and other streaming services during the height of her popularity.
"Spotify is paying out a lot of money, it's just not finding its way into the hands of the artists," said Carter at a technology conference.
Johansson concurred in his recent statement that "It's important for people who pay for Spotify to see how this really works: the money doesn't end up with the artists, and almost all the money from older recordings is kept by the record companies."