Spotify's Rogan problem: a special edition

In Podnews today: Two stories today: Spotify's woes, and the BBC's anti-podcasting move

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The ground of my world just shifted.

I believe Spotify have quietly changed their licensing agreement. I’ve fallen off my chair.

I want you to dig into this with me and see if… *gasp* I can finally stop whining about Spotify…

My epiphany today, started when I noticed this topic appeared in the #news category, here on PodComm.

Spotify, Capital Records, and Neil Young

I’m happy to see that Cridland, the editor/author of Podnews’s daily newsletter, correctly presented this as an action which was taken by Young. I’ve recently talked with a few non-podcasters, and they’re saying they saw this reported as Spotify kicking off Young.

It’s an important distinction; Who took action, Spotify or Young? This was the creator acting: Neil Young had enough pull with his record label [I believe it’s Capital Records] to convince them to force Spotify to pull the artist’s music.

Maybe you agree with Young, maybe you disagree. But I bet you think you should have the power to control where your work is played.

Here I was about to begin my usual ranting about Spotify’s licensing, strong-arming podcasters.

If you are a Spotify USER

You accepted the clause below. This clause is fine. You can use their service, until such time as you can’t. You are not permitted to take all the content from Spotify and use it forever!

Subject to your compliance with these Terms (including any other applicable terms and conditions), we grant to you limited, non-exclusive, revocable permission to make personal, non-commercial use of the Spotify Service and the Content (collectively, " Access "). This Access shall remain in effect unless and until terminated by you or Spotify. You agree that you will not redistribute or transfer the Spotify Service or the Content.

…from Terms and Conditions of Use - Spotify

Next I was going to show you how Spotify’s license for podcast creators is different.

If you put your show on Spotify

Oops, sorry. Their rules are not reciprocal…

…and I went off to find the podcast creator license. IT’S NOT EASY TO FIND. They show it to you as the dead-last step of the addition process. After you wait for an email and enter the code. And they put the license in a small box. But if you search enough, you can find it on the open web.

Did any of you read it? I did and I balked…

It used to have language that required us to give them an irrevocable license to create derivative works. That was a deal breaker for me. And having no power to negotiate (unlike Neil Young!) with Spotify, I chose to take my larger podcast show and walk away.

Spotify has changed the agreement!

Today, I find no sign of the previously odious terms. Here’s the entire section Licenses you grant us. Yes, I’m actually expecting you to read this. :slight_smile:

You retain ownership of your User Content when you post it to the Service. However, in order for us to make your User Content available on the Spotify Service, we do need a limited license from you to that User Content. Accordingly, you hereby grant Spotify a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, fully paid, worldwide license to: (a) download, digitally transcode, modify, make copies of, create derivative works from (including the right to transcribe, e.g. for the purpose of optimizing search functionalities, improving personalization, simplifying content review and/or displaying on the Spotify Platform, but not including the development and production of derivative audio or video works or the exploitation of customary ancillary rights, e.g. merchandise, live events, etc.), and otherwise process, the User Content to the extent reasonably necessary to transmit and communicate to the public the User Content and operate the Service; (b) transmit and communicate to the public the User Content on a pre-programmed and on-demand basis to terminal devices of Spotify users in (i) any industry-standard implementation of the digital media “streaming” format, as that term is commonly understood, in all cases wherein the content of the media file is rendered simultaneously with its transmission; and (ii) the so-called “conditional download” format wherein the transmission of a media file results in a playable copy of the media file being deposited on the storage medium of a terminal device; (c) transmit, communicate to the public and display the User Content for purposes of identifying and promoting the availability of the corresponding User Content on the Service; (d) make and store on Spotify’s servers and terminal devices such copies of User Content as are reasonably necessary to enable Spotify to transmit and communicate to the public User Content and communicate to the public and display images as permitted hereunder; and (f) use the User Content for internal research, development and business purposes. For the avoidance of doubt, Spotify will determine, at its sole discretion, whether the User Content will be distributed via the Service, and Spotify shall be entitled to use the User Content in conjunction with all of the tiers, features and functionalities, websites and user interfaces, as well as all content and software applications associated with our services (collectively, the “Spotify Platform”) (which includes, but is not limited to, the right to transcribe User Content, e.g. for the purpose of optimizing search functionalities, improving personalization, simplifying content review and/or displaying on the Spotify Platform). You further grant us the non-exclusive, irrevocable, fully paid, worldwide right to use your name, likeness, and photograph on the Service and in our marketing communications to advertise, market and promote the availability of your User Content on the Service.

Conditional upon you supplying the relevant information in the User Content’s associated metadata, Spotify shall display a link to the following information via the Spotify client interface for the Service in connection with each User Content: (a) a standard copyright notice supplied by the user [e.g. “(p) and (c) [Year] [Provider-designated name]. All rights reserved.”] in a readable size; and (b) the title of the User Content as set forth in such metadata.

Aside from the rights specifically granted in these Terms, you retain ownership of all rights, including intellectual property rights, in the User Content that you post, and you have only granted us a license as set forth in these Terms. Where applicable and permitted under applicable law, you also agree to waive and not enforce any “moral rights” or rights, such as your right to be identified as the author of any User Content, including Feedback, and your right to object to derogatory treatment of such User Content. If such moral rights are not waivable, then you at least agree not to sue us for failure to identify you as the author of any User Content or for any use of your User Content on the Service.

…from /legal/spotify-for-podcasters-platform-terms/ - Spotify

Emphasis added.

The word irrevocable now only appears in the marketing part.

Formerly, it was in the first paragraph too. Meaning you could never tell them to stop using your content.

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I believe musicians and podcasters are in different boats around this issue. Music is passive. There is no opportunity to address points of view for them on the site. Walking away is their form of protest especially with those as influential as Neil Young, Joni Mitchell. My feelings about Rogan, what he seems to stand for aside, he has an equal opportunity (as do other podcasters) to spread hate and mis-information or bring a different POV, bring people together.

Spotify is not alone in the dissemination of odious content and blatant lies. Yes, Rogan is the biggest podcaster with the most listeners and is being paid (handsomely)/ supported by Spotify. So they are doubly culpable in this case. I understand Brené Brown has stopped her podcasts on Spotify. Again, how will that play into the single megaphone of Rogan on Spotify?

As a small megaphone in a big megaphone game, the path I have chosen is persistence and consistency. Walking away from Spotify is certainly an option (and I am considering it). I support those who feel that is their best recourse. But where do you go?

(Cue the RSS conversation @craig ! :slight_smile: )

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