When listeners hear “Since U Been Gone” by Kelly Clarkson on Spotify, they might not care too greatly how the exploitation of this song is characterized in contracts. But a judge’s interpretation could upend the record industry as streaming platforms continue to grab greater market share.
On Wednesday, New York federal judge Ronnie Abrams delivered a new opinion in an important lawsuit. She finds that many of the licensing agreements that Sony Music have struck with streaming outlets like Spotify, Rhapsody and Last.FM are ambiguous as to how they describe streamed music. The result is that the case will continue — perhaps eventually to trial — and heretofore confidential contracts will be dissected at length.