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Non-Bohemian Rhapsody

The latest in the line for streaming related litigation is Rhapsody, with David Lowery once again leading the charge against allegedly unpaid mechanical royalties for songs played on the service.

Rhapsody, alongside Spotify, Google Play and others, is accused of not complying with the formalities of the compulsory licence that covers mechanical royalties in the US, and therefore of infringing the copyrights of songwriters.

As reported by Digital Music News, the service has reportedly started sending back-dated notices of intent to copyright owners. This could potentially be used as evidence that the infringement was willful and to push for the highest possible damages of $150,000 per song used without license.

Jay Z’s Tidal service also suffered further waves of discontent this month- in addition to “terminating” two of its key executives, the service is being sued by musician John Emanuele of US duo The American Dollar and Yesh Music, as reported here by CMU.

They claim that the streaming service has failed to pay royalties due which, if proven will be especially embarrassing considering all of Tidal’s ‘Artist first’ bluster and rhetoric. Still, at least it has that Kanye ‘exclusive’- the one that failed to chart due to Tidal not sharing streaming data with sales measurement company Nielsen, though it did shoot straight to the top of the Pirate Bay charts.

Meanwhile, Sony Music in Sweden is developing an app, which the major label says will show artists daily royalty earnings. This is a step in the right direction for transparency, which is surely the key factor between all parties in ensuring that such problems are nipped in the streaming bud- that and of course the ongoing question of a US rights database to ensure that mechanical royalties are paid accurately.

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