Spotify has withdrawn the work of hundreds of comedians, including John Mulaney, Jim Gaffigan, and Kevin Hart, as part of a fresh dispute over royalties.
Spoken Giants, which represents some of the affected comedians, bills itself as “the first global rights administration company for the owners and creators of spoken word copyrights,” and hopes to convince streaming platforms to pay comedians for writing jokes in the same way that songwriters are paid.
According to a Spotify spokeswoman, the streaming company has previously paid “substantial sums of money” to provide the comedic material to subscribers and “would want to continue to do so.”
Although the content is still available on other channels like Pandora and Sirius, Spoken Giants believes comedians with smaller profiles and earnings may suffer as a result of Spotify’s demise.
On social media, New York-based comedian Joe Zimmerman called the move “corporate bullying,” while Liz Miele, another New York-based comedian, tweeted that her albums had also been removed from the platform because comedians “had the audacity to ask for money owed to us,” and jokingly compared herself to singer Taylor Swift.
Swift was previously embroiled in a legal battle with Spotify, claiming that musicians were not being compensated. In 2014, the artist removed her entire discography from the platform, but in 2017 she changed her choice.
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