Did we report yesterday on quotes from National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) boss David Israelite that suggested he was fairly relaxed about Spotify’s latest mechanical-licensing controversy?
Yes, we did.
But life comes at you fast in the streaming world, and an email sent by Israelite to Digital Music News takes a notably more-furious tone.
As a reminder: a recent legal filing by Spotify floated the possibility that streaming does not require a reproductive ‘mechanical’ licence.
“This is now a fight with all songwriters – not just a conflict with these particular plaintiffs. NMPA will be engaging in the manner and the terms of our choosing, but the one certain thing is we will win this fight,” wrote Israelite in his new email.
“Spotify’s ridiculous argument that it does not owe royalties for mechanical reproductions spits in the face of every songwriter that has made Spotify’s business even possible. This has been a settled legal issue for over 10 years… If Spotify does not withdraw this offensive and baseless claim, it will become public enemy number one to the entire songwriting community.”
Dare we say it, but this kind of fight is exactly what Spotify doesn’t need in the run-up to going public, even if it’s not going down the usual IPO route.
But it’s not just about spooking potential shareholders: in a global streaming market where Spotify’s main rivals will be larger, richer technology firms, the value of goodwill within the publishing community should not be underestimated.