A nervous day for the music industry that could have witnessed one of the most significant conflicts in the global music business ends with a peaceful turn.
Spotify has been functioning without a permitted license from Warner Chappell Music – the publishing company of Warner Music Group (WMG) – in India since February last year after Warner, took Spotify to the Bombay High Court over the streaming service’s decision to launch its platform in India complete with their catalogue.
Spotify disputed that its use of Chappell’s catalogue was protected by a statutory licence in India – one that was earlier used by radio broadcasters. Warner asserted that this proposal was absurd and that an injunction should be placed in the market banning Spotify from using its music and maybe pay some damages as well.
Surprisingly, both the companies confirmed a new global licensing agreement that includes India.
It’s worth noting what permits Spotify may have given up to get its deal with Warner Chappell over the line. Warner Chappell says it’s “happy” about the result, while Spotify says it’s “pleased”.
Last year Warner and Spotify both used condemning language about each other as things took a turn for the heated.
Spotify publicly accused Warner of “abusive behaviour”, hinting that the publisher’s refusal to license its service in India could “harm many non-Warner artists, labels and publishers”; Warner said it viewed Spotify’s comments as “appalling”, adding it was “shocked that they would exploit the valuable rights of songwriters without a license”.
More importantly, Warner remained hopeful it could reach a “strong, balanced commercial agreement” with Spotify once the commotion had settled.