Spotify Sued By Warner Music Group Over Licensing Rights Ahead of its India Launch

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Spotify said on Monday that Warner Music Group has revoked a previously agreed upon publishing license for reasons which are unrelated to the company’s India launch, following the legal suit from Warner Music Group over licensing rights.

Spotify was expected to launch in India within a few weeks but the launch was abrupted when the music label WMG filed for an injunction in a Mumbai court earlier during the day – in an attempt to leverage Warner/Chappell Music’s (WCM) local Indian publishing rights.

A Spotify spokesperson said that the MWG has instructed the WMC to seek an injunction in order to leverage its local Indian publishing rights, to extract concession on WMG’s global renewal negotiations for musical recordings.

“All other major labels and publishers have agreed on economics and to license their music, and Spotify has also entered into a license with the local collecting society, while the WCM remains the lone hold-out needed for a Spotify launch in India,” the spokesperson told IANS.

Spotify, which has over 200 million users globally, was expected to launch in India next month to tap into the online music service industry which is currently occupied by services like  Gaana, JioSaavn, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

Spotify has already obtained a licensing agreement with T-series that has a huge library of songs. The WMG, however, has some big names on their side like Katy Perry and Led Zeppelin.

“The WMG’s abusive behavior would harm many non-Warner artists, labels, and publishers, and prevent Spotify from competing in the market, leaving us no choice but to file for a statutory license,” the spokesperson said.

According to Spotify, the statutory license, which allows for application internet-based services, prevents WMG’s abusive behavior, while ensuring all rights holders are compensated fairly.

“Under the statutory license, Spotify will pay the WCM and their rights holders rates that are in-line with rates Spotify agreed to pay the leading Indian music entities, ensuring that everyone involved will benefit from the new audiences and significant revenue the Indian market will bring.

“We will continue to assess our options at this stage,” the Spotify spokesperson said.

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