Buzzing: Spotify agrees to settle copyright suits

Spotify agrees to settle copyright suits

Music streaming leader Spotify has agreed to set up a US$43.45-million (S$60-million) fund to settle a potentially costly pair of class-action copyright lawsuits from indie songwriters Melissa Ferrick and David Lowery, lawyers said on Monday.

The two had accused Spotify, which boasts of offering instant access to 30 million songs, of recklessly putting music online without securing mechanical rights - the permission to reproduce copyrighted material - from the tracks' composers. Ferrick's lawsuit sought US$200 million in compensation and Lowery's, US$150 million.

Under the settlement filing that needs to be approved by a federal judge in New York, Spotify would set up the fund to compensate songwriters for lack of licensing.

Better Midler might not sing at Tonys

There is still time for a change of plans, but at the moment, it appears unlikely that Bette Midler, one of the biggest stars of the current Broadway season, will be singing during the June 11 CBS broadcast of the Tony Awards ceremony.

According to multiple sources, the producers of Hello, Dolly! and the producers of the awards show reached an impasse over the conditions under which Midler would sing and, as a result, the plan is for her to present an award, but not to perform.

The issue could affect television viewership. A famous actress singing a familiar song from a classic musical might add pizzazz to an event that, like all awards shows, has struggled to retain viewers.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2017, with the headline 'Buzzing'. Print Edition | Subscribe