Spotify sued by musician for $150 million in royalties

Posted at 5:32 PM, Dec 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-29 19:32:14-05
By Jackie Wattles

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — A lawsuit filed in federal court against the music streaming service Spotify is seeking at least $150 million in royalties for musicians and copyright owners.

The suit, filed Monday by guitarist and vocalist David Lowery of alternative rock band Cracker, alleges Spotify “knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted” music without a license to do so, Lowery’s law firm wrote in a statement.

Violating federal copyright law could mean fines of between $750 and $150,000 for each infringement. That could mean big payouts if the court sides with Lowery, who filed the case on behalf of himself and “all similarly situated artists.”

The complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court of Central California, says the musicians have not been compensated by Spotify after the streaming service made their music available to its customers.

Mega-stars like Taylor Swift and Adele are among the artists who have kept some music off Spotify. Streaming services have been a burden on industry profits by cutting into album sales.

A court ruled in October that Pandora, another online streaming service, had to pay out $90 million to the copyright owners of some oldies songs.

Spotify did not immediately respond to CNNMoney’s requests for comment.