The Great Triangulator: Whatever Happened with David Lowery’s Spotify Complaint to the NY Attorney General?
Digital Music News is reporting that David Lowery sent a demand letter to Spotify around December 15, 2015 regarding Spotify’s failure to license some of his songs. More about that later.
What’s interesting about that is that it suggests that Lowery was getting nowhere with his November 9, 2015 complaint to the New York Attorney General that Spotify was operating a massively infringing music service. Not being able to get Spotify to address the problem and striking out with law enforcement authorities, Lowery didn’t have much choice.
Realize that Lowery was simply asking the current New York Attorney General to do that which his predecessor had done a decade before. You can read about it in a press release from the AG’s office:
State Attorney General Spitzer today announced a deal with the nations top recording companies that returns nearly $50 million in unclaimed royalties to thousands of performers.
The agreement comes after a two-year investigation by Spitzer’s office found that many artists and writers were not being paid royalties because record companies had failed to maintain contact with the performers and had stopped making required payments. This problem affected both star entertainers with numerous hit recordings and obscure musicians who may have had only one recording.
As Lowery wrote:
I see no difference between the 2004 situation regarding record companies and the 2015 situation involving digital services. I think that highly sophisticated and well-funded high-tech digital services like Spotify and Google should be held to at least the same standard as the record companies regarding unpaid royalties if not a higher standard—if licensees don’t know who to pay, then why are they using the music in the first place?
The implication being that at least the record companies owned or distributed the works for which they were not paying royalties unlike Spotify. Seems pretty reasonable, doesn’t it? What’s good for the goose, etc.?
Why would the New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman simply ignore a letter complaining of such foul treatment? Good question.
Recall that Spotify recently hired political operative Jonathan Prince, who has a long career in New York political circles as well as working in the Clinton White House and State Department–but also being the campaign manager for New York State Controller Bill Thompson‘s run for Mayor of New York as reported in the New York Times.
Jonathan Prince will be Mr. Thompson’s chief campaign strategist and manager. A former campaign adviser and speechwriter for President Clinton, he worked as the national deputy campaign manager for John Edwards’s 2008 bid, and more recently served as a top State Department official, focusing on the Middle East. A longtime Manhattan resident, Mr. Prince also worked on Fernando Ferrer’s unsuccessful 2005 race against Mr. Bloomberg.
And guess who endorsed Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General?
You don’t suppose…
That’s the same Eric Schneiderman who opened a short lived investigation into Apple Music the week Apple launched their streaming service competitor to Spotify. But he can’t manage to respond to David Lowery.
You don’t suppose….