Spotify and Warner Music Group are embroiled in a very public war over licensing and the availability of music on the service in India. As the case rumbles through the Indian courts, Music Ally’s Indian correspondent Amit Gurbaxani has been digging into what this all means in a feature for for First Post. He also considers what the implications of the recent ruling in the Tips Industries/Wynk Music could be for licensing in the country.
On the WMG dispute, he says, “[T]hanks to the temporary agreement between Warner/Chappell and Spotify, you can hear tracks by Warner/Chappell artists on Spotify India, provided of course that they aren’t signed to Warner Music. Such acts include the likes of Beyoncé, Katy Perry, Kendrick Lamar, Radiohead and Rihanna.” He also offers a detailed breakdown of Section 31D of the Copyright Act in India – which is key to both of these legal disputes – and how it is being interpreted by legal experts in the country.
On the Wynk/Tips case, Gurbaxani suggests that the initial ruling against Wynk could hold. “Wynk has already said they will appeal but folks in the music industry say that the judge’s ruling is so carefully detailed that it’s unlikely it will be overturned,” he writes.
Regarding Spotify/WMG, he says that, should Spotify lose in June when the case will next be heard (unless both sides reach an agreement before then), it will have to pull all Warner/Chappell repertoire – even if the publisher has just a 1% stake in any song). “If Warner/Chappell’s tracks disappear from Spotify, it will be a further blow to the platform, which currently doesn’t have Saregama’s music either,” he writes. “The best option seems to be for them to sign a contract with the publishing company and its parent label to get all of Warner’s acts on the service.” Music Ally recently published its report into the rapid growth of YouTube in India and what this means for Indian artists both domestically and internationally. Subscribers can read the full report here.