MOS vs Spotify – The Big Debate


Written by Mary Woodcock

23 September 2013

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Recently it has been announced that Ministry of Sound is suing music streaming service Spotify in a dispute over accusations of Spotify user playlists copying its compilations albums. An injunction has been filed against Spotify to remove such playlists and block them. We present to you both sides of the argument:

Ministry of Sound

MOS prides itself on their compilation albums. It is stated by MOS chief executive Lohan Presencer in an interview with The Guardian, “A lot of research goes into creating our compilation albums, and the intellectual property involved in that. It’s not appropriate for someone to just cut and paste them.”

To back up their argument it is stated that by law “the expertise and creative effort involved” in curating compilation albums is protected therefore MOS has rights. Spotify users have also included the MOS name in the title of their playlists and Spotify have refused to remove these playlists when asked.

It has been added however by CMU business editor Chris Cook that MOS may risk a PR backlash due to the legal action taken being portrayed as “an old style company desperately trying to protect its compilations business.”

Spotify

Spotify have refused to comment on the situation however the following points can be made.

It was not Spotify’s idea for users to create these playlists and it may suggest that there is a need from consumers to have MOS’s compilation albums available on the streaming site.

Other compilation albums such as the Now compilations have made various compilations available on the streaming services however it can be argued that as the company is a joint venture of Sony and Universal, with most tracks on the playlists being owned by the following major companies, that MOS being significantly smaller in size would not benefit to the same standard.

It is also true that MOS do not own many of the copyrights to many of the tracks on their compilations with the majority being licensed by other labels.

Your views?

So is Ministry of Sound fair to sue against Spotify? Are these user playlists a threat to MOS with the compilation business that they are well known for and infringing their rights as a label or do you think that Spotify is in the all clear?

Is has been stated by playlists.net owner Kieran Donoghue (website allowing users to share playlists) that “Ministry of Sound need to embrace this and work with their audience, not against them. This could quite easily turn into a huge PR disaster.”

Do you believe this will cause MOS more trouble than it’s worth or that the well established dance label deserves to protect their compilation business in this way? However, by going against consumer habits it may be compared to the classic case of Metallica suing Napster users which may negatively affect their good reputation; is this a good move by MOS?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below and join the debate. We are eager to hear your views. Also please expand the debate further by sharing, tweeting and emailing this post.


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