Review of Intellectual Property Law Blog

Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of $345 Million: How Spotify’s Alleged Licensing Mishaps May Lead to a Large Payout to Bob Gaudio of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

By Deidre Davis, J.D. Candidate 2018 on Monday, August 7th, 2017
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Twenty years ago, an individual trying to listen to their favorite songs would have to carry around multiple compact discs and a similarly situated portable compact disc player. Today, however, the vast majority of music fanatics can have their songs right at their fingertips without the heavy luggage of the past. Spotify is one of the leading companies that have paved the way in regard to music storage usage. The app requires almost no storage usage for the millions of songs accessible through a phone or computer. Spotify provides this convenience through a music streaming platform, so users can access a song without having to download it to their device.

However, no good deed goes unpunished, especially when licensing issues are at hand. Spotify is currently in hot water from Bob Guadio and Bluewater Music Services Corporation for allegedly failing to pay for the mechanical licenses of the compositions that are streamed through their company.[1]  Guadio is most famous for his membership with Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons, where he was responsible for the writing and publishing of their famous hits, including, “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Sherry,” “Walk Like a Man,” and “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.”[2] Bluewater has issued similar allegations for the songs “Baby Come Back,” White Liar,” and “Yesterdays;” sung by Player, Miranda Lambert, and Guns ‘N Roses, respectively.[3] If Guadio and Bluewater Music Services Corporation can prove that Spotify did not obtain all the necessary licenses, they may be able to acquire the $345 million in alleged damages.[4] 

Spotify is not the first party with allegations of a failure to obtain correct licenses for the use of an artist’s music. For more information on other situations where licenses have become an issue, check out Courtney Willits’ article, Candidates Shouldn’t “Cruz” Through Political Campaigns: Why Asking for Permission to Use Music is Becoming So Important on The Campaign Trail.

 

[1] Erin M. Jacobson, Spotify May Have to Pay Songwriters $345 Million, Legal Blog Post (last visited Jul. 29, 2017) https://www.forbes.com/sites/legalentertainment/2017/07/19/spotify-may-have-to-pay-songwriters-345-million/.

[2] Id.

[3] Id.

[4] Id.

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