A lot of artists, bands, indie labels and publishers have a problem with the payout from Spotify, but most feel that at least they're being paid something. What could be worse is if your songs are being played by the service and you're receiving no royalty at all.
That's the basis for a $150 million class action lawsuit brought against Spotify by Camper Van Beethoven/Cracker leader David Lowery.
Lowery claims that Spotify has failed to get the proper licenses to distribute certain copyrighted songs, and then failed to pay the copyright holders and publishers the proper royalties.
Spotify is currently in negotiations with the National Music Publishers Association about this very issue, and has reportedly set aside of fund of $25 million to pay the royalties for any improper song use.
There's been allegations of non-payment for some time, and Spotify has even admitted there was a problem, but blamed much of it on the lack of tracking data that was supposed to be supplied when the song was uploaded.
Incorrect metadata is a problem for almost every online service that deals with copyrighted material. Each platform has its own set of required data, and much of the time supplying that data falls to an intern or untrained employee of the label or publisher, so it's upload improperly or incomplete.
To qualify as a class action lawsuit, there needs to be a number of plaintiffs besides Lowery, and while not named, the Lowery suit claims that there will be more than 100.
If nothing else, this lawsuit should give us further insight into how Spotify matches songs to metadata and determines royalty payments.