Spotify’s launch in India last year was marred by a licensing dispute with Warner Chappell, in which Spotify argued that it could use a statutory licence designed for broadcasters to cover its use of the publisher’s catalogue.
CFO Barry McCarthy commented at the time that “It’s not really about India, it’s about leverage and renegotiation of the global agreement”, although the publisher took a markedly different view.
11 months on, and that global agreement has been signed, including India, and as a result the litigation between the two companies there has ended. “We’re happy with this outcome. This new deal appropriately values our songwriters’ music and expands our licensed partnership with Spotify to include India,” said Warner Chappell’s spokesperson. “In less than a year, millions of Indian listeners have joined Spotify, listening to their favorite artists and songwriters from across the globe. We’re pleased with this agreement, and 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,” added Spotify’s.
This all means Spotify’s statutory argument won’t be ruled on in court, although a separate case between streaming service Wynk and label Tips Industries is relevant: in May 2019 a judge ruled against Wynk, saying that it did not qualify for a statutory licence.