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Spotify Accused of Ministry of Sound Playlist Theft

Ministry of Sound Logo Black Background

Ministry of Sound has been an electronic institution since it opened its doors in London in 1991. Since then, they have transformed into a multinational record label that has sold in excess of 50million albums. However, to people not familiar with the dance scene, they are perhaps most well-known for those gaudy adverts for the numerous compilation albums they put out, and it is these compilation albums that have become the centre of the latest Spotify scandal.

Spotify have been accused by the Ministry of Sound of nicking the track lists that make up these compilation CD’s. Spotify has allegedly put up playlist identical to some Ministry Of Sound compilations without their permission.

In an interview with The Guardian, Ministry of Sound Chief Executive Lohan Presencer said "What we do is a lot more than putting playlists together. 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."

Consequentially, the case is being taken to High Court on Monday. They maintain that “the expertise and the creative effort involved” is something that is protected by law. They are seeking an injunction that will force the removal of these playlists, and that will block the copying of their compilation albums in the future. They are also seeking damages and costs.

This suing is simply the latest in a string of controversies that Spotify have had to battle this year, the most recent of which saw Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke pull the work of his Atoms For Peace side project from Spotify. He then launched an attack on the streaming site on twitter, claiming that the site did not benefit up and coming artists. They also faced trouble earlier on in the year, when the Google Crome extension downloadify was found to be able to steal copyrighted material from the site.

A large part of Spotify’s problem is that they are pioneers in what they do. Whilst they are not the first music streaming site, they are certainly the first to reach such a large audience. Consequentially, a lot of the boundaries as to what is acceptable for streaming sites to do have not been outlined.

However, there is some evidence to show that Spotify benefits the music industry as a whole. Figures from Merlin released earlier in the year, for example, show that 30% of independent labels in Europe are now making more profits from streaming sites than through MP3 downloads. Even more impressively, Merlin claimed that 90% of its members saw a rise in revenue from streaming sites between 2011 and 2012.

It may be the case that the Spotify is making mistakes because they are trying out ideas that have never been tried before. Unfortunately for them, whether they were right on this one will be decided in a court of law.

Sean Lewis

Ministry of Sound has been an electronic institution since it opened its doors in London in 1991. Since then, they have transformed into a multinational...

Sean Lewis - 13th September 2013

Article Ref: #SpotifyPlaylistTheft