American Performing Rights Organization SoundExchange continued Slacker, Inc. and parent company LiveOne in the United States regarding unpaid royalties owed to performers and rights owners.
The Slacker music platform offers free, subscription-based access to licensed songs through music stations. The platform also has partnerships with various automakers, including Tesla.
In the lawsuit, filed in California’s Central District Court on Tuesday, June 28, SoundExchange claims that Slacker stopped paying statutory royalties to creators in 2017.
Slacker Radio was acquired by LiveXLive Media (now LiveOne) for $50 million in September 2017, five months after the company was forced to lay off 25% of its global staff.
Slacker was rebranded as ‘LiveXLive powered by Slacker’ in 2019, with LiveXLive rebranding to LiveOne in 2021.
SoundExchange says it has been negotiating with Slacker since 2017 to settle the outstanding balance, but claims Slacker “has failed to meet the terms agreed to by the parties.”
SoundExchange has now filed a lawsuit for breach of contract and underpayment of statutory royalties.
The lawsuit against Slacker came the same day parent company LiveOne released its financial results for the company’s fourth quarter of fiscal 2022. (calendar Q1 2022), as well as its fiscal year 2022 (ended March 31, 2022).
For LiveOne’s fiscal year 2022, the company’s revenue grew 79% year over year to reach $117 million, compared to $65.2 million in the previous year.
In a statement released yesterday (June 28) alongside the company’s financial results, LiveOne CEO and Chairman, Robert Ellinsaid the company expects its Slacker Radio and PodcastOne divisions to “collectively achieve revenue in excess of $80 million in fiscal year 2023″.
Commenting on LiveOne’s results yesterday (June 28), Ellin said, “The momentum of LiveOne’s audio business, which includes Slacker Radio and PodcastOne, continues to improve due to continued growth in paying members. , thanks to partnerships, including Tesla, as well as an increase in advertising and sponsorships.
“We currently expect these two subsidiaries to collectively achieve revenues in excess of $80 million in fiscal year 2023.”
“By refusing to pay royalties for the use of copyrighted sound recordings, Slacker and LiveOne have directly harmed creators over the years.”
Michael Huppe, SoundExchange
Michael Huppe, President and CEO of SoundExchange, said, “By refusing to pay royalties for the use of copyrighted sound recordings, Slacker and LiveOne have directly harmed creators over the years.
“Today, SoundExchange is taking a stand through necessary legal actions to protect the value of music and ensure creators are fairly compensated for their work.
“We hope that Slacker and LiveOne will quickly roll back and pay what they owe for the use of recordings that make their service valuable.”The music industry around the world