Spotify is upping its presence in the centre of US political power by appointing not one but four lobby groups – each covering a different part of the business. As an indication of Spotify’s future plans, either to push for opportunities to expand its business or to safeguard its current position, the areas its newly appointed lobbyists will concentrate on include competition, licensing and “platform neutrality”.
Politico – the politics publication – broke the story and suggests that this is a pre-emptive move by Spotify to ensure that Apple’s move into streaming with Beats (possibly this June) does not trample it into the dirt. “It’s an aggressive move for the company, which until now had not maintained any internal or external registered lobbyists,” claims the publication. The four lobby groups – Forbes-Tate, Peck Madigan Jones, Gibson Group and BakerHostetler – have filed registrations with the Senate to represent Spotify.
On top of this, Politico adds that Spotify has two lobby groups representing its interests at the European Union and is also currently advertising for an internal VP of public policy.
This development in the US comes in light of possible moves by Congress to refresh the country’s copyright laws and the Justice Department is also considering updates to music licensing rules. Billboard adds that publishers are pushing for the Songwriters Equity Act to be reintroduced before Congress and, if successful, this could have huge knock-on effects for what services like Spotify pay to artists and writers.
To put all of this into the wider context, Apple is reported to have spent $4.1m in lobbying last year while the RIAA and Universal Music each spend millions of dollars a year on lobbying efforts.
The areas that Spotify has appointed lobbyists for stand as a clear indication of what it regards as its biggest challenges in the coming years in the world’s largest music market. The platform neutrality area is particularly interesting, especially in light of all the battles last year to knock back (for now) the introduction of a two-tier internet where data-heavy services (like Spotify) could be throttled by ISPs unless they pay not to be.