Spotify has removed the work of hundreds of comedians, including John Mulaney, Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart, amid a new fight over royalty payments.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, a number of high-profile comics are pursuing royalty payments for jokes they’ve written when they’re played on the radio, as well as on digital services like Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and SiriusXM.
Global rights administrator Spoken Giants, who work to ensure that entertainers are properly compensated for spoken-word content, are leading the case. They’re arguing that comedians should be compensated for writing content, as songwriters are for writing music and lyrics.
Following a breakdown in negotiations though, Spotify has removed hundreds of comedians’ content. Spoken Giants wrote on Twitter: “Spoken Giants did not demand or even request that Spotify take down any comedy content. Spoken Giants wants the jokes written by the comedians it represents to be heard and enjoyed by as many people as possible across as many platforms as possible. Spoken Giants just wants comedians to be paid for the jokes they write, just like songwriters get paid for the songs they write”.
Spoken Giants did not demand or even request that @Spotify take down any comedy content.
Spoken Giants wants the jokes written by the comedians it represents to be heard and enjoyed by as many people as possible across as many platforms as possible. #StandUpOnSpotify
— Spoken Giants (@SpokenGiants) December 2, 2021
In a statement to the WSJ, a spokesperson for Spotify said: “Spotify has paid significant amounts of money for the content in question, and would love to continue to do so. However, given that Spoken Giants is disputing what rights various licensors have, it’s imperative that the labels that distribute this content, Spotify and Spoken Giants come together to resolve this issue to ensure this content remains available to fans around the globe.”
In other news, Spotify‘s CEO Daniel Ek’s recent investment in artificial intelligence defence technology was met with backlash by artists and users on the streaming platform.
Ek announced that he was investing 100million euros (£85.2 million) into defence company Helsing and he was joining the board.
The deal has angered artists including producer Darren Sangita, who wrote on Twitter: “#BoycottSPOTIFY now! Cancel your subscription today. Artists and music lovers must not support the military #AI industry! Register your anger at the #Spotify involvement in sponsorship of Arms Corporations. This is so vile. Music is NOT War! Just wrong on every level.”