India's Oldest Label Removes Catalog From Spotify Due to Infringement Claim

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The logo of the music streaming service Spotify is displayed on a smartphone on April 20, 2017 in Berlin, Germany. 

Spotify can't seem to catch a break in India. Just days before its launch there in February, Warner Music Group filed an injunction to stop the streaming service from illegitimately using its publishing rights (matter ongoing); and now the country's oldest record label, Saregama, demanded that Spotify remove its entire catalog within the next two weeks. 

In a lawsuit filed today (April 24) in Delhi's High Court, Saregama -- which according to its website includes evergreen Hindi songs, Ghazals, Hindustani, Carnatic and Devotional music, and also contains a film production division -- alleged that it entered into negotiations with Spotify for a copyright license, and allowed the digital service provider (DSP) to upload its content ahead of its arrival in India, a contract was never signed. 

Admitting defeat, Spotify committed to taking down Saregama songs from the platform, and furthermore holds no ill will against the music and film company. "Learned senior counsel appearing for the defendant on instructions states taht the defendant to not consider this litigation as an adversarial litigation," writes the Honorable Mr. Justice Jayant Nath.   

Saregama's operation revenues grew by 60 percent year-over-year in the last quarter of 2018 (its fiscal third quarter), which was fueled by a 68-percent increase in the company's music sector. Interestingly, music hauled in 92 percent of the company's quarterly revenues, while TV and films brought in just 8 percent.