According to The Wall Street Journal, Spotify removed hundreds of comedian tapes after the Spoken Giants and a rights management firm stalled on a royalty deal. The disappeared records belong to such stars as Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish and John Mulaney.
As in previous controversies with songwriters, this new battle is about compensation for more than just performance. Spoken Giants wants its artists to receive royalties not only for the time spent at the microphone, but also as the authors of jokes. The rights company began negotiations with online services in the spring, but just before American Thanksgiving it was revealed that Spotify would withdraw the comedians’ work until an agreement was reached.
Spotify also said it pays a “significant” amount of money for comedy material and would “gladly” continue to pay, and that distributors and labels also have a say in payouts. Some comedian material remains on Spotify as of now, but much more is available through competing services such as Apple Music.
If Spotify started paying royalties, the service would either have to pay more overall, or reduce some of its existing share of distributors and labels. Both can negatively affect Spotify’s bottom line, and the company doesn’t have much room to wiggle anyway – the average revenue per listener last quarter was about $ 4.91.
At the same time, the dispute over royalties and the deletion of records occurs at a particularly sensitive time. Since live stand-up is still far from the scale it was before the pandemic, some comedians are quite dependent on digital releases. They are clearly looking to boost that revenue and could run into some pretty bad financial trouble as they lose support from Spotify.
A source: gizmodo
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