Almost a year after, Warner Chappell Music (WCM), the music publishing division of Warner Music Group (WMG) had filed an injunction to stop Spotify from using its catalogue of songs in India, the warring parties have announced a truce.
The court, in response to a joint request from the parties, has dismissed the pending litigation between them. This action comes after WCM and Spotify, the world’s largest single digital music service, signed a multi-territory licensing agreement which includes India, bringing an end to their legal dispute in the country.
“In less than a year, millions of Indian listeners have joined Spotify, listening to their favourite artists and songwriters from across the globe. We are pleased with this agreement,” a Spotify spokesperson said,
“Together with Warner Chappell Music, we look forward to helping songwriters and artists connect with more fans, and for more fans to enjoy and be inspired by their music.”
Warner Chappell Music – Spotify legal history
Warner Chapell Music was advised and represented by Priyanka Khimani, one of the leading music lawyers in the country. She appeared on behalf of WCM at the injunction hearing before the Bombay High Court on 25th February 2019 as well as on 14th January 2020 when the matter was amicably resolved. The injunction had been filed at the Bombay High Court.
A Warner Chappell spokesperson said, “We are happy with this outcome. This new deal appropriately values our songwriters’ music and expands our licensed partnership with Spotify to include India.”
WCM had the backing of The International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP) in its licensing spat with Spotify India. ICMP is the global trade body representing the interests of the music publishing community. The constituent members of ICMP are music publishers’ associations from Europe, Middle East, North and South America, Africa and Asia-Pacific.
Last year, music label Saregama had moved to the Delhi High Court seeking the court’s injunction against Spotify to stop it from exploiting its songs or doing any act which would result in a violation of its intellectual property rights. Spotify told the Delhi High Court it will remove all content that belongs to Saregama from its platform within 10 days.
Spotify has 248 million Monthly Active Users globally and aims to widen its reach in one of the biggest and fast growing music market of India.
With a stiff competition from the local streaming platforms like JioSaavn, Gaana, Wynk etc and the omnipresent subscription price war, this settlement with Warner Chappell Music should provide relief to Spotify in India.