There has always been a lot of tension between artists and Spotify, but musicians do get a cut from the streaming platform, even if the cut is small. Some content creators like comedians want similar financial gains because currently they are not paid royalties. Rather than concede, Spotify has decided to remove the work of hundreds of comedians.
These are not just comics from your local comedy club, but some with massive influence. For example, Kevin Hart, Jim Gaffigan, and John Mulaney, all of whom are represented by global rights firm Spoken Giants. The company is fighting for radio stations and streaming services to pay comedians royalties for using this work.
As well as Spotify, the company is also focusing on Pandora, SiriusXM, and YouTube. Spotify has responded by removing content from comedians under the Spoken Giants umbrella. The Wall Street Journal reports Spotify and Spoken Giants have been in negotiations but could not agree on terms.
As such, Spotify decided to remove the content. Speaking to Gizmodo, Spoken Giants CEO Jim King explains why the process reached a dead end:
“In music, songwriter royalties are a very basic revenue stream, so this is not an unfamiliar concept and our work is based on established precedents and clear copyright language,” King says. “With this take-down, individual comedians are now being penalized for collectively requesting the same compensation songwriters receive.”
Despite sending communication to Spotify, the streaming giant has sent no response since removing the content. However, the company did offer a statement to Gizmodo, saying it does pay a “significant amount” to the comedians and the argument is over rights.
“Spotify has paid significant amounts of money for the content in question, and would love to continue to do so,” a Spotify spokesperson argues. “However, given that Spoken Giants is disputing what rights various licensors have, it’s imperative that the labels that distribute this content, Spotify and Spoken Giants come together to resolve this issue to ensure this content remains available to fans around the globe.”
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