byÂ Charlotte Hassan
An activist artist demands transparency in a Spotify caseâ€¦
Back in December of last year, Spotify faced a lawsuit brought forwardÂ by musician David Lowery,Â frontman of bands Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. Â Lowery, who carries a long history of advocating for fair pay for artists, claimed that Spotify has been distributing copyrighted content while skipping key royalty payments.
Lowery subsequently initiated a class action lawsuit,Â with estimated damages in theÂ $150 millionÂ range.
Since that point, the case has been ongoing, though an agreement involving publishing organization NMPA and Spotify could seriously deflate the action. Â But whatâ€™s in that agreement, and is it fair? Â On Monday (April 18th), Lowery told U.S. District Judge Beverly Reid Oâ€™Connell that SpotifyÂ is â€using misleading information to push putative class members into a lowball royalty settlement with the National Music Publishers Association,â€ while pushing for access to the deal points.
Accordingly, Lowery has requestedÂ access toÂ review all communications Spotify USA issues to putative class members related to its $30 million settlement with the NMPA, part of a potentially broader subpoena.
Lowery not only claims that Spotify is using the NMPA settlement to cut class members out of his lawsuit, but he also claims that theÂ NMPA has distributed â€œslantedâ€ press releases that serve to discredit hisÂ lawsuitÂ and draw would-be litigants into their settlement. Â Lowery is now asking the presiding judgeÂ to allow him toÂ send corrective notices to putative class members, andÂ prohibitÂ Spotify and any related parties from issuing any misleading communications moving forward.
Lowery also claimsÂ that the streaming platformÂ is infringing upon his and other musiciansâ€™ mechanical rightsÂ by failing to secure proper licenses.
Separately, Spotify seeksÂ termination of the lawsuit based on technical problems with class action certification. Â Specifically, Spotifyâ€™s lawyers have argued that each writer and publisher situation is different, which would require individual litigation instead of an across-the-board class action suit.
But, this hasnâ€™t stopped Lowery filing a motion to consolidate his $150 million lawsuit with Mellissa Ferrickâ€™s similar $200 million lawsuit, filed shortly after Loweryâ€™s. Â On Monday (April 18th), Lowery also asked a US District Judge to consolidate these lawsuits and appoint his counsel Michelman & Robinson LLP as lead. Â The request is in opposition to a similar motion filed by Melissa Ferrickâ€™s counsel Gradstein & Marzano PC.
The motionÂ is belowâ€¦