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SoundExchange sues Slacker

By | Published on Thursday 30 June 2022

Slacker Radio

US record industry collecting society SoundExchange has sued personalised radio service Slacker and its parent company LiveOne over allegedly unpaid royalties.

Personalised radio services like those operated by Slacker – so limited functionality streaming – can access recordings in the US via the collective licensing system because of a compulsory licence under American copyright law. SoundExchange administers that licence.

The society says that it’s been in dispute with Slacker since 2017, which is the year when the personalised radio set up was acquired by live streaming company LiveXLive Media, which subsequently rebranded as LiveOne.

In a statement outlining the dispute, SoundExchange said: “In 2017, Slacker stopped paying statutory royalties to creators whose recordings it was using. SoundExchange has been in negotiations with Slacker since that time to resolve their outstanding balance, but Slacker has failed to meet the terms to which the parties agreed. SoundExchange is now filing a complaint for breach of contract and underpayment of statutory royalties”.

Meanwhile, the society’s CEO Michael Huppe added: “By refusing to pay royalties for the use of protected sound recordings, Slacker and LiveOne have directly harmed creators over the years. Today, SoundExchange is taking a stand through necessary legal action to protect the value of music and ensure creators are compensated fairly for their work. We hope Slacker and LiveOne will promptly reverse course and pay what they owe for the use of recordings that drive the value of their service”.