Streaming is the present and the foreseeable future. We know this too well, but with this multi-billion dollar transition in music and tech one question rests among many; how will our preferred streaming services consistently ensure that artists are being paid and credited as they should be?
Now if you have the backing of a major label we like to think that no one can fuck with your check or rights, but there’s a massive current of independent artists rolling in and putting numbers on the board with no one to watch out for them but themselves and hopefully a lawyer.
That said, the percentage mystery continues as Apple is getting sued for unpaid independent artist royalties.
According to a report from Billboard, lawyer Richard Garbarini filed a putative class-action lawsuit against Apple Music on behalf of songwriter, Bryan Eich. The songwriter is asking for $30,000 for each song Apple allegedly infringed. The suit also claims Apple failed to license mechanical rights, the rights to reproduce and distribute copyrighted songs. Other streaming services have said that they can’t always identify or find publishing rights holders to license their compositions. Fine. Understood, but in those cases, distributors (like Apple, Spotify, Tidal) can file Notices of Intent — something Apple allegedly didn’t do for Eich’s songs.
Eich might not be well known but, this makes the issue and recent stories like it more aggravating to me. Are these recurring cases within the entire streaming realm simple mishaps, a lack of urgency for the unknown artist, or a mix of both?
Spotify, Rhapsody, Tidal, and Google Play have been hit with similar suits in the past, but this is the first time such a lawsuit has been filed against Apple.
Apple hasn’t publicly responded to the lawsuit.