Spotify has stepped in it once again with a blunder that sees the streaming service, which is actively trying to fight a streaming royalty rate increase, saying it overpaid royalties to songwriters and publishers in 2018 and would like their money back.
In a statement from a Spotify spokesperson, “According to the new CRB [Copyright Royalty Board] regulations, we overpaid most publishers in 2018. While the appeal of the CRB decision is pending, the rates set by the CRB are current law, and we will abide by them — not only for 2018, but also for future years in which the amount paid to publishers is set to increase significantly. Rather than collect the 2018 overpayment immediately, we have offered to extend the recoupment period through the end of 2019 in order to minimize the impact of the adjustment on publishing companies.”
According to Music Business Worldwide, the error in payment was due to not factoring in Spotify’s discounted subscriptions to students and their Spotify Premium family plan bundles, which can allow for up to six users to use the service for only $14.99/month.
To say Spotify has had some PR issues in the past couple of years is an understatement. In early 2018, Spotify went back on its decision to ban certain artists from playlists, namely R. Kelly. At the time, Spotify said in a statement, “When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful, it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator.”
In March 2019, Spotify, along with Google, Pandora and Amazon Go, filed a joint appeal on a ruling from the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board that would increase streaming royalty payments by 44% from streaming services to songwriters/publishers.
Erica Banas is rock/classic rock news blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.