Spotify Is About to Crush That $200 Million Class Action Lawsuit

by Paul Resnikoff

Spotify Is About to Crush That $200 Million Class Action Lawsuit

$5 million later, Spotify seems to be walking away clean.

It now looks like Spotify is soundly defeating a $200 million class action lawsuit from songwriters and publishers.  Initially, Spotify faced a scary, $150 million class action lawsuit driven by longtime artist advocate David Lowery, an estimate that ultimately trickled upward towards $200 million.  But quick-n-crafty dealmaking with larger publishers, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) and the Harry Fox Agency (HFA) now appear to be attracting a critical mass of participating publishers, and deflating a mob of angry litigants.

The class action surrounded non-payments of mechanical licenses by Spotify, a specific license that seemed to be overwhelmingly ignored by the streaming giant.  That was a huge whoops, intentionally or otherwise, though not a life-ending blow.  Just this morning, NMPA president David Israelite indicated that a large number of publishers were opting into a voluntary agreement on the matter, one first reported by Digital Music News in early March.

Importantly, that voluntary agreement includes a promise not to participate in any legal action, which includes the ongoing class action.  See how that works?

In a predictably dry account relayed by Billboard this morning, Israelite indicated that 96% of NMPA members had already opted into the agreement.  “The vast majority of our members have opted into our settlement,” Israelite told Billboard scrawler Ed Christman.  Since 96% basically means ‘everyone,’ and the NMPA represents a massive chunk of the overall publishing community, that leaves a dramatically reduced group of eligible participants in the Lowery-led suit.

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