On Wednesday, the Mechanical Licensing Collective announced it had received $424.38 million in unmatched royalties from Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify among other streaming services. Variety reports that these streaming services paid the accrued historical unmatched royalties, often called “black box money,” to the MLC in order to get these royalties to copyright holders, songwriters, and publishers who have applied to be MLC members.
Spotify is no stranger to facing lawsuits accusing it of offering unlicensed songs, but the latest could prove to be very costly. Hollywood Reporter has learned that Wixen Music Publishing, which manages the song composition rights for artists ranging from Neil Young to Zach de la Rocha, has sued Spotify for copyright damages of at least $1.6 billion. Wixen claims that the streaming service is using tens of thousands of songs without proper licenses and the compensation to match. The plaintiff had already objected to proposed $43 million settlement in another case in May, so this wasn’t coming entirely out of the blue.