According to a breaking news story by Digital Music News, multiple music streaming services including Tidal, Microsoft, Google Play, Rhapsody, and Slacker will be facing multiple class action lawsuits for their alleged failures to acquire the appropriate mechanical licenses for song recordings in their repertoires. With each suit seeking hundreds of millions of dollars and royalty damages, this onslaught of litigation against music streaming services is looking to become a billion dollar baby for aggrieved artists and songwriters. Digital Music News reports that claims against each of these services were filed over the weekend, and should be announced this week. Perhaps the only one greeting this news with a smile is Spotify, who has been donning headlines due to its own class action suit for weeks. All of these lawsuits share the common theme of allegations that the service in question intentionally or negligently failed to obtain the necessary mechanical licenses for song recordings containing the plaintiffs’ compositions, and intentionally or negligently failed to pay the relevant royalties legally owed to plaintiffs.
Many of the defendants, including Spotify, Rhapsody, and Slacker, have attempted to retroactively remedy the issue by sending backdated NOIs (Notice of Intents) and removing the alleged infringing content. Whether these acts are construed as reasonable remedies or admissions guilt will be up to the courts.
Jennifer Marr is an Entertainment and Sports Highlight Contributor for the Harvard Journal of Sports and Entertainment Law and a current first year student at Harvard Law School (Class of 2018).