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Spotify and Wixen settle the music publishing company’s $1.6 billion lawsuit

Spotify and Wixen settle the music publishing company’s $1.6 billion lawsuit

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Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Spotify and music publishing company Wixen have mutually agreed to dismiss the $1.6 billion lawsuit Wixen filed back in 2017. The lawsuit Wixen brought against the streaming service argued that Spotify was using songs from artists it represented — like Tom Petty and Rage Against the Machine — illegally as Spotify had not sent physical letters to songwriters to obtain “a direct or compulsory mechanical license” for use on the platform.

In addition to the complaint that Spotify was engaging in copyright infringement by neglecting to send these paper notifications, Wixen also claimed that Spotify was failing to pay out songwriter royalties about 21 percent of the time. As compensation, it asked for $150,000 in statutory damages per song, which is how the company arrived at the $1.6 billion price tag.

Wixen and Spotify announced the dissolution of the lawsuit in a statement.

Wixen Music Publishing, Inc. and Spotify USA Inc. have agreed to a final dismissal of the lawsuit filed by Wixen Music Publishing late last year. The conclusion of that litigation is a part of a broader business partnership between the parties, which fairly and reasonably resolves the legal claims asserted by Wixen Music Publishing relating to past licensing of Wixen’s catalog and establishes a mutually-advantageous relationship for the future.

TechCrunch notes that the two entities had been working toward a resolution for some time. Earlier this year, a judge granted an extension to respond to the filing because there were “ongoing settlement discussions.” This continuance gave the courts until December 21st to respond.

In the future, the Music Modernization Act should solve this specific issue from being a problem. One component of the MMA is that it’s ending the bulk notice of intent process for songwriters, which requires the delivery of the paper notices Wixen originally filed its lawsuit over. However, the new MMA laws only apply to royalty disputes that occur after January 1st of 2018, which means the Wixen dispute is exempt.