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Spotify money spat sparks lawsuit threat

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Spotify money spat sparks lawsuit threat
15:51 CEST+02:00
Several Swedish artists, represented by former Eurovision winner Per Herrey, are threatening to sue two record companies unless they are given a bigger chunk of the royalties for their songs being played on streaming service Spotify.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg. In reality there is an enormous number (of artists), but not all are prepared to fight in the public gaze," said former pop star turned lawyer Per Herrey to the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper.

Herrey shot to fame with his brothers when they triumphed in the 1984 Eurovision Song Contest with the track "Diggi-Loo Diggi-Ley." He is now a lawyer working with the Musicians Union and has taken up the case against Universal and Warner to front the artists who currently wish to remain anonymous.

He claims that the music from the artists was given to Spotify without the artists' consent and they aren't earning much from the service. Herrey added that the original deal was done before the digital age.

"We believe that the agreements don't allow the music to be played on digital platforms. I want to emphasize that we do not have anything against Spotify. It's the agreements with the record companies that we want to improve," he told DN.

At present both Warner and Universal earn 90 percent of the revenue when a song is played on Spotify leaving the artists with just a tiny share of between 6 percent and 10 percent.

"You can't live on that. If you compare with music that is played on the radio then that income is split 50/50 between the record company and the artists and musicians. We think that is a good split," he said to Sveriges Radio (SR).

Herrey added that the artists will put pressure on the record companies for a better deal with Spotify. If that doesn't happen they will remove their music from the service.

Radiohead frontman slammed Spotify during the summer saying "new artists get paid fuck all with this model" and withdrew some of his own music in protest.

Spotify defended themselves saying they "want to help new artists."

The news comes on the same day that Sweden's biggest music copyright management organization has struck a landmark deal with YouTube that will allow Swedish artists to get a cut when their music is played on the video-streaming mammoth.

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