Spotify’s legal team has recently argued in a memo to the U.S. Federal District Court in Nashville that streaming does not require a mechanical license. This is in regards to a lawsuit filed against Spotify by Bluewater Music Services. The Publisher has claimed that Spotify is infringing upon 2,339 of their songs, and is suing for statutory damages resulting in $351 million dollars. This could mean an entire restructuring for the music publishing ecosystem and industry.
Spotify stated in the memo, “The act of streaming does not reproduce copies of sound recordings or musical compositions, and equally does not distribute copies of either sound recordings or compositions”.
There are definitely blurry lines around this topic, but it has been more or less accepted that streaming requires both performance and mechanical licenses. This is not the first time Spotify has found issue with mechanical licenses. The company was hit with a class action lawsuit from Boston based singer/songwriter Melissa Ferrick, as well as a settlement with the National Music Publishers Association, resulting in a combined $75 million payout.
Click here for a more in-depth analysis of the legal battle, via Billboard.