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Victory Records returns to Spotify

By | Published on Thursday 12 November 2015

Victory Records

Well, that didn’t last long. Victory Records is back on Spotify after reaching a “good resolution that works for everybody”.

“WE’RE BACK”, tweeted the record company last night, along with a link to a playlist of its tracks on the streaming platform just to prove it. The company’s catalogue was pulled by Spotify in the US last month as part of a dispute with Victory’s sister publishing company, Another Victory.

As previously reported, Another Victory believed it had not received mechanical royalties due on 53 million streams of its songs, mainly due to complexities in the US copyright system. The two sides had attempted to reach a resolution, but talks fell apart when Spotify suggested that Another Victory do a direct licensing deal. The publisher pointed out that this would breach its contract with rights management company Audiam, and that Spotify should have been aware of this.

It was at this point that Spotify pulled the Victory Records catalogue from its US service. While not all artists on the label are actually published by Another Victory, without a central database of song ownership, there was no easy way for Spotify to see which tracks should be taken down and which should not.

In a statement at the time, Victory said: “The issue of non-payment for songwriters and composers is a widespread problem and not exclusive to Victory Records’ artists”.

But speaking to Digital Music News after the Victory catalogue re-appeared on Spotify yesterday, the company’s founder Tony Brummel said: “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”.

Commenting on a previous claim that Victory might have to make members of staff redundant if the Spotify boycott continued, he said: “In regards to the ‘layoffs’ comment – that was a rhetorical one. If anyone had [gone] to the job section of our website that would have been glaringly evident. We have over ten positions posted as we continue to add to and bolster our 34 person team. As many independents have sold their companies in the past year – Century Media, Fearless, Infectious, Razor And Tie, Rise, Vagrant and others – we continue to build”.

But while Victory may be happy for now, the issue of mechanicals going unpaid by many streaming services in the US remains. As previously noted, the publishing industry is understanding of this issue to an extent, because it recognises that the problem is in part its own fault. Though musicians rights advocate David Lowery recently called upon the New York Attorney General to investigate the problem, arguing that difficulties in locating some song rights owners doesn’t absolve streaming services from their legal obligations when using those songs.