Spotify has been hit with a class action lawsuit over alleged unpaid royalties. The suit was filed by Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker frontman and founding member David Lowery yesterday (Monday, Dec. 28) in the Central District Court of California. Lowery is seeking at least $150 million in damages against Spotify, alleging the streaming service juggernaut "knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses," according to Billboard.
In the filed complaint, Lowery says Spotify has unlawfully distributed copyrighted music compositions to more than 75 million users and failed to identify or locate the owners of those compositions for payment. He also claims the streaming service publicly admitted its failure to obtain licenses, which could be in reference to the company's recent blog post. Spotify recently announced they have paid $3 billion in royalties to date, but sources say the company has a fund of $17 million to $25 million on reserve to pay for outstanding royalty fees.
This suit arrives at an interesting time as Spotify recently made a very public commitment to fix the industry's royalty problems. "Unfortunately, when it comes to publishing and songwriting royalties, especially in the United States, that’s easier said than done because the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholder is often missing, wrong, or incomplete," the company stated in a blog post. "We are committed to solving it, but it is going to take significant time and effort."