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Spotify pulls Victory Records releases amid dispute

Tuesday, October 20, 2015 9:32 AM PT
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Streaming music service Spotify has removed thousands of songs by bands currently or previously signed to Victory Records due to a dispute over publishing royalties. Victory has issued this statement:

"Victory Records' catalog of music was pulled from Spotify last night as a result of Spotify not properly paying publishing revenues due to Victory Records' artists in blatant violation of US Copyright laws. Spotify also pulled down a very large number of albums that Victory is not the publisher for proving that their internal systems are inadequate. We asked that our catalog not be pulled, that we would amicably work with Spotify, and they haphazardly removed our content regardless. 53,000,000 streams, as per Spotify's statements, were identified with no publishing royalties being paid by Spotify.

"Late yesterday, Spotify sent over a document giving them mechanical clearance to use our music. We could not sign said document for a variety of reasons, most importantly, that it would put us in direct violation of our agreement with Audiam. Spotify knows we are in business with Audiam and were essentially asking us to breach/ignore that agreement. The issue of nonpayment for songwriters and composers is a widespread problem and not exclusive to Victory Records' artists. We understand your frustration with not being able to listen to the music you enjoy (and most pay for via subscription).

"The bottom line is that artists and songwriters are not being paid and fans of Victory's artists cannot listen to the music.

"Thank you for your support and we remain hopeful that Spotify will do the right thing."


UPDATE: Billboard has published additional details and background information regarding the dispute. Notably, Billboard says that Victory is owed mechanical royalties for 2,183 songs, totaling roughly $23,000:

Using Spotify's royalty statements on Victory Records' master recordings, and comparing those statements from 2012 through September 2015 against publishing royalty statements made to Another Victory over the same period, Audiam found that, of the 3,245 recordings that Another Victory holds a stake in, only 1,062 had received payment from Spotify. That leaves 2,183 songs in which Another Victory has a publishing stake but that did not receive mechanical royalty payments, accounting for 53 million total streams for those songs.

Billboard estimates that, at a blended mechanical rate for the ad-supported and premium services of $0.00043 per stream, the amount left unpaid comes to nearly $23,000.

Contacted for comment, Spotify told Billboard that they "are working to resolve the issue."


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