Nashville musicians sue Spotify over song licensing agreements
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WZTV) —
Spotify is in trouble again for how an attorney says it pays the people behind the songs you love.
A Nashville attorney is representing two publishers of hits like George Strait's "Troubadour" and Miranda Lambert's "Gun Powder and Lead."
They are now taking actions against the music streaming service.
Lee Thomas Miller's latest hit is climbing the charts, but the Nashville Songwriter's Association president said it all comes down to the American songwriter.
"We sit in rooms everyday and craft out of our own experiences, our own heartaches out of our own victories," Miller said. "As it is now, culture has been told music is free, music is in the air, all I have to do is get an app and pick a song."
As music creators take a hit with streaming, Nashville-based attorney Richard Busch is striking a chord filing two lawsuits against Spotify on Tuesday.
"A multi-billion dollar business we allege not caring about committing copyright infringement or paying songwriters or publishers for their work, so they can be first in market to rule the streaming industry," Busch said.
Representing publishers like Nashville's Bluewater and Bob Gaudio (main songwriter for Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons), Busch alleges Spotify did two things to his clients: not properly paying for licensed music and playing songs after licensing agreements ended.
"They're about to go public on this multi-billion dollar business that we allege is built on the concept of infringe now, deal with it later and settle on the cheap when caught.," Busch said.
Meanwhile, Miller said he hopes something good comes out of the lawsuit.
"I hope there will continue to be lawsuits with Spotify, as they continue to arrogantly go out and play the music even when they don't have the proper licenses," Miller said. "The backdrop of everything is music. We should get paid. Technology is not more valuable than the person that knows how to write that emotion in a 3 minute song that will change somebody's life."
NSAI continues to fight old federal laws in D.C. to help music creators make a living in the day of streaming music.
Spotify has settled similar suits in recent years for tens of millions of dollars. This is the first time a Nashville based publisher is taking on the streaming company in court.