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WIXEN SUES SPOTIFY FOR $1.6 BILLION

Wixen Music Publishing, which handles admin and more for songs by Tom Petty, Neil Young, The Doors, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Kenny Rogers, WeezerRage Against the Machine, Donald Fagen, Stevie Nicks and Journey, among many others, is suing Spotify, seeking $1.6 billion in damages and injunctive relief.

Wixen claims that Spotify, after obtaining master licensing from the major labels, rushed to market without proper licensing on the pub side. The streaming giant deputized Harry Fox Agency to pursue songwriter/publisher licenses. The suit alleges Spotify "made insufficient efforts to collect the required musical composition information and, in turn, failed in many cases to license the compositions embodied within each recording or comply with the requirements of Section 115 of the Copyright Act."

In response to a May settlement of a class-action suit filed by songwriers David Lowery and Melissa Ferrick, Wixen filed a letter signed by many songwriters (most of which it represents) objecting that the settlement, amounting to $28.7m after attorney fees, was "procedurally and substantively unfair" and "offers [settlement class members] an unfair dollar amount in light of Spotify's ongoing, willful copyright infringement of their works."

Spotify has reportedly claimed that Wixen had privately told clients it would circulate requests for exclusion in writers' names unless they made explicit requests to the contrary within a brief window. 

Stay tuned.

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