Spotify Drops Victory Records Catalog Over Disputed Royalties

Chicago indie label home to Taking Back Sunday and Thursday claims service owes publishing revenue for 53 million streams

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Spotify
Chicago independent label Victory Records had their catalog pulled from Spotify after claiming the streaming service owed them publishing royalties Gary Burchell/Getty

Spotify has removed albums by Taking Back Sunday, Hawthorne Heights, Thursday and more artists on Victory Records after the Chicago label claimed they were unable to work out an agreement with the streaming service over unpaid royalties. Albums by those bands, and others, not released on Victory, though, are still available to hear on Spotify.

"Victory Records' catalog of music was pulled from Spotify last night [Monday] as a result of Spotify not properly paying publishing revenues due to Victory Records' artists in blatant violation of US Copyright laws," the Chicago label wrote in a statement.

The predominately hardcore and post-hardcore label said they are owed for 53 million streams, according to Spotify's own records. Victory said the streaming service also pulled material from non-Victory artists, whom the label pointed out were being similarly uncompensated (or, in their words, "for proving [Spotify's] internal systems are inadequate").

A representative for Spotify was not immediately available for comment.

While Victory attempted to avoid having their music pulled and to fix the problem with Spotify, they said they were offered only a contract to sign that would have violated a previous agreement with the digital rights service, Audiam.

"Spotify knows we are in business with Audiam and were essentially asking us to breach/ignore that agreement," Victory said. "The issue of nonpayment for songwriters and composers is a widespread problem and not exclusive to Victory Records' artists … The bottom line is that artists and songwriters are not being paid and fans of Victory's artists cannot listen to the music."

Despite Spotify's staggering popularity — and the massive push towards music streaming it helped instigate — the service has been regularly hounded by accusations that it hurts, not helps, artists since it launched in the U.S. in 2011. Musicians like Thom Yorke, Prince, Neil Young, Garth Brooks and, most notably, Taylor Swift have pulled some, if not all, of their music from the service, often alleging that the company doles out inadequate compensation to writers, producers and artists.

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