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Spotify Removes Comedy Content After Payment Spate

Comedians weren’t traditionally involved in the messy fights for audio royalties, as you don’t often hear a comedy special played on the radio between Nickelback and Kings Of Leon.

But Spotify has forever changed the landscape for how people listen to ‘content’, and after failing to come to terms from Spoken Giants, a global rights firm that fights for digital and radio royalty payments for comedies, Spotify swiftly removed hundreds of comedians’ works from its platform, including giants like Jim Gaffigan, Tiffany Haddish, and Kevin Hart.

These include comedy albums, live specials, and other works.

It’s not just Spotify in the battle, with subscription radio platform SiriusXM, YouTube, Pandora and Apple all being hit up for royalties. Specialist comedy radio stations also exist in the digital sphere.

Rather than deal with the shifting landscape, Spotify informed Spoken Giants that it would remove the content.

Spoken Giants CEO Jim King isn’t happy with Spotify’s response.

“Spotify does provide entertainers with exposure and access to large audiences,” he said.

“So having their work taken down is harmful to each individual creator.

Spotify said it has paid “significant amounts of money for the content in question, and would love to continue to do so.”

King isn’t buying this. “There wasn’t much to collect before. Now it’s a completely different world where a Gaffigan or a Mulaney have billions of performances across these platforms,” he said. “It now makes sense for a collective licensing business.”