Following a royalties and rights battle, Spotify has removed various comedy albums and podcasts from the streaming platform. Some of the comedians affected were Kevin Hart, John Mulaney, Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia, Chad Daniels, Tom Segura, Kyle Kinane, and even more.
For years, singers and musicians have been receiving royalties for their work. So recently, comedians decided they deserved the same treatment, they too wanted to get paid for their content that viewers get to enjoy. But when the comedian's publishing companies asked Spotify for their respective royalties, the platform didn't respond. Instead, they secretly removed the work of said comedians from their app.
Random question: Does anyone know why some of the Comedy Central albums got taken off Spotify? 3 of mine are gone, some of Mulaney’s, one of Attell’s, but then some are still there— like Hedberg. Anyone know about any rights things happening behind the scenes with comedy albums?— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) November 27, 2021
This situation could be a big turning point because it's a step towards a direction where billion-dollar streaming sources will have to rightfully pay comedians for their work. Recently in 2020, a company called Spoken Giants, was created, it is “the first global rights administration company for the owners and creators of spoken word copyrights.” So their aim is to legally provide comedians with their owed royalties.
The Ceo of Spoken Giants, Jim King, sent an email to all the comedians that were affected by Spotify's decision. He explained that, "We do not have an agreement with Spotify and this must be an indication they know they don’t have all the rights in place to serve this content. We are working to contact Spotify to determine what the issues are and respond accordingly." King's email also explained that the copyright dilemma is only happening with Spotify and not any other streaming platforms, "Our mission is to serve you and create value for your copyrights. This is not impacting any other platforms such as Pandora or Sirius."Some comics reacted to the situation, “Spotify took my album off their platform but luckily I found a penny on the street today so I won’t notice the difference for a couple years,” teased Gianmarco Soresi.
Spotify took my album off their platform but luckily I found a penny on the street today so I won’t notice the difference for a couple years— gianmarco (@GianmarcoSoresi) December 1, 2021
The dispute doesn't pertain to the posting of podcasts, since the payout for that usually comes in from sound recording using SoundExchange. This problem is copyrights - Spotify never paid any performance royalties for the comedian's legit jokes that they had created themselves. Hopefully, it will all be resolved soon and the celebs rightfully get what they are owed.
Stay tuned, we have a feeling this rights battle won't be over soon.