If you get through your work day by streaming music from Earth Crisis, Terror, Comeback Kid or even Hawthorne Heights on Spotify, you'll have to come up with a new plan. Due to an ongoing dispute over unpaid royalties, the streaming service has opted to throw down and remove Victory Records' entire catalogue from its playlist.
According to the long-running label, Spotify opted to remove their entire catalogue from the service against its wishes. In a press release, the label's Tom Wojcik explained that they hoped to work through the dispute rather than have their streams removed. He added that Spotify also removed some albums that Victory isn't even the publisher for.
Here's the statement from Victory Records in full:
Victory Records' catalog of music was pulled from Spotify last night as a result of Spotify not properly paying publishing revenues due to Victory Records' artists in blatant violation of US Copyright laws. Spotify also pulled down a very large number of albums that Victory is not the publisher for proving that their internal systems are inadequate. We asked that our catalog not be pulled, that we would amicably work with Spotify, and they haphazardly removed our content regardless. 53,000,000 streams, as per Spotify's statements, were identified with no publishing royalties being paid by Spotify.
Late yesterday, Spotify sent over a document giving them mechanical clearance to use our music. We could not sign said document for a variety of reasons, most importantly, that it would put us in direct violation of our agreement with Audiam (www.audiam.com). Spotify knows we are in business with Audiam and were essentially asking us to breach/ignore that agreement. The issue of nonpayment for songwriters and composers is a widespread problem and not exclusive to Victory Records' artists. We understand your frustration with not being able to listen to the music you enjoy (and most pay for via subscription).
The bottom line is that artists and songwriters are not being paid and fans of Victory's artists cannot listen to the music.
Thank you for your support and we remain hopeful that Spotify will do the right thing.
UPDATE (October 21, 1 p.m.): Billboard has offered up an in-depth analysis of the situation, suggesting that Spotify owes Victory nearly $23,000 for its 53,000,000 streams as per the going rate of $0.00043 per stream.
UPDATE 2 (November 10, 4 p.m.): According to Absolute Punk, Victory and Spotify have resolved their issues, and the label's full catalogue is back on the streaming service. An employee also explained that Victory's Tony Brummel was exaggerating when he suggested layoffs were imminent due to the dispute. "Nobody's job was ever in jeopardy," the employee said. "Tony was speaking rhetorically when he was quoted. We're glad to have our content back on Spotify, and that we came to a good resolution that works for everybody, ensuring that our fans can listen to the music they love on Spotify and that all of our artists and songwriters are paid for their work."