The Entire Victory Records Catalog Has Been Pulled from Spotify
According to a press release, Spotify has pulled the entire Victory Records catalog from the streaming service.
Unlike the spats between Spotify and record labels a few years back (such as the very public one with Century Media), the removal of Victory artists from the service is not the result of backlash against the idea of streaming services — or in defiance of the rates that Spotify pays for streams — but of a contract dispute. Victory’s press release — which I underline to highlight that we haven’t heard Spotify’s side of the story yet — claims that Spotify has hasn’t been paying publishing revenue due to their artists:
Victory Records’ catalog of music was pulled from Spotify last night as a result of Spotify not properly paying publishing revenues due to Victory Records’ artists in blatant violation of US Copyright laws. Spotify also pulled down a very large number of albums that Victory is not the publisher for proving that their internal systems are inadequate. We asked that our catalog not be pulled, that we would amicably work with Spotify, and they haphazardly removed our content regardless. 53,000,000 streams, as per Spotify’s statements, were identified with no publishing royalties being paid by Spotify.
So: according to Victory, Spotify made the decision to pull down the tracks, not Victory. Interesting.
Further, what exactly does “not properly paying publishing revenues” mean here? Is Spotify purposefully ignoring payments owed? Is Victory unhappy with the rates? Is it all just a paperwork error, i.e. tracks not being properly marked with their publishing data in Spotify’s system?
The press release elaborates that Victory has a deal with Audiam, a company that offers artists, labels and rights holders the opportunity to “Get paid additional money when your music is played on YouTube, Spotify, Rhapsody and more:”
Late yesterday, Spotify sent over a document giving them mechanical clearance to use our music. We could not sign said document for a variety of reasons, most importantly, that it would put us in direct violation of our agreement with Audiam. Spotify knows we are in business with Audiam and were essentially asking us to breach/ignore that agreement. The issue of nonpayment for songwriters and composers is a widespread problem and not exclusive to Victory Records’ artists. We understand your frustration with not being able to listen to the music you enjoy (and most pay for via subscription).
So, who’s at fault here — Victory or Spotify? It’s incredibly difficult to tell given the information provided, how little we know about Audiam, and the murky and confusing world of music publishing in general. But we look forward to learning more about this story as it unfolds and, hopefully, getting Victory’s music back up on Spotify ASAP.