Comedians don’t get paid royalties, unlike songwriters.
Spotify Pulls Content of Hundreds of Comedians
Comedians are also writers. Just like songwriters, they, too, write content to entertain their audience. But they don’t get paid royalties for their work.
In the era of streaming, though, comedians want to change it. After all, their content is popular on various digital platforms.
Unfortunately, their effort hit a wall.
Spotify removed the work of hundreds of comedians. The Wall Street Journal reported that the work of big names, such as Kevin Hart, John Mulaney, and Jim Gaffigan, has been taken down.
Spoken giants, a global rights company represents Mulaney, Hart, Gaffigan, and other comedians. The said company is leading the fight to ensure digital platforms pay the comedians royalties on the copyright for their work.
Spotify has been negotiating with the representative of these comedians. Unfortunately, there has been no agreement yet.
The streaming giant informed the global rights company that it would pull all work by those comedians it represented until an agreement is reached.
Spoken Giants stated that it has a process to engage with digital platforms and radio to talk about compensation for comedy writers.
Spotify didn’t want to continue the negotiations. Instead, it removed all the work of those comedians. But it did roll out its 2021 Spotify Wrapped.
The take-down may signify that Spotify is penalizing comedians for requesting compensation for their work.
Spoken Giants has reached out to the streaming giant after the work of its members has been removed. It didn’t receive a response. Furthermore, the global rights company requested a meeting with the streaming giant to resolve the issue.
Comedians are paid through their label or distributor. If their recordings are played on a digital service, SoundExchange will pay for them. In other words, they are not paid directly as writers.
Songwriters and artists are finding ways to control their work. They are directly paid every time their work is used in streaming services and radio. And this is what the comedians want.
Spotify said that it has already paid a significant amount of money for the content of the individual comedians. The streaming service will continue to do so. But it added that their labels and distributors must also be part of the meeting.
There are several challenges to this situation.
One is to know the funding for this payout. When the streaming giant signed deals with labels and distributors of comedians, it would mean that the deals include the rights that needed a payout.
If Spotify would pay for new copyrights, they need to spend more cash to carry the content. It could also deduct a portion of what it’s paying for the distributors for the literary right.
Before, comedy has few listeners.
But with the rise of digital platforms, more and more people can access comedy albums. Performances of comedians are available across those platforms.
Thus, it only makes sense for comedians to collect money for their work. They want a huge piece of the streaming pie.
However, this can be a difficult negotiation. Spotify is known to resist paying higher royalty rates to publishers and songwriters.