Spotify has withdrawn the works of some of the most popular comedians, including Kevin Hart, Tiffany Haddish, John Mulaney and Jim Gaffigan over a royalty dispute. First reported by The Wall Street Journal, a number of prominent artists charge royalties for their jokes when they air on radio, as well as on services such as Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and SiriusXM.
The comics’ efforts are supported by the global rights administration company, Spoken Giants, which ensures that artists are paid properly for spoken content. As the WSJ Notes, comedians are typically paid by their label or distributor – as well as the SoundExchange digital performance rights organization – when a digital service broadcasts their content. However, they are technically unpaid for writing this content, something Spoken Giants hopes to change.
After negotiations with Spoken Giants failed, Spotify removed hundreds of comedian content from the service. In a statement to WSJ, Spotify said it has already paid “significant amounts for the content in question and would like to continue to do so.” The edge contacted Spotify with a request for comment but did not receive a response immediately.
It’s unclear if Spotify will try to come to a deal with Spoken Giants again or if the comedians content will ever return. With Spotify expected to have more than 400 million users by the end of the year, the actors concerned could miss a huge visibility.