As if the battle for streaming supremacy wasn’t enough of mess, a $150 million class action lawsuit against Spotify may complicate things even more.
Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman David Lowery, retaining the law firm of Michelin & Robinson LLP, has filed a class action lawsuit against the music streaming service in the Central District Court of California. Lowery alleges that Spotify knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted works without obtaining the proper mechanical licenses. This new lawsuit seems to be a redundancy of the ongoing settlement negotiations between Spotify and the National Music Publishers Association in which the NMPA similarly accused Spotify of allowing users to play music that hasn’t been properly licensed, and also without making mechanical royalty payments to music publishers and songwriters. Lowery’s complaint also indicates that Spotify knowingly admitted wrongful doing when they revealed a $17 million to $25 million reserve fund to pay royalties for pending and unmatched song use. The songs specific to Cracker which Lowery claims were available for streaming unlawfully are “Almond Grove,” “Get On Down The Road,” “King of Bakersfield,” and “Tonight I Cross The Border,” all from last year’s Berkeley to Bakersfield. The lawsuit is classified a class action suit because it represents a community of artists that is well over the requirement of at least 100 individuals.
Lowery is appointed as the class representative for filing the suit, and he is a fitting choice as he is not shy about speaking up about music-related issues. He’s already spoken out against Genius, and blasted an NPR intern for file-sharing. Keep on fighting the good fight, Mr. Lowery.