John Mulaney, Kevin Hart, And Other Comics Had Their Stand-Up Shows Wiped Off Spotify Over A Royalty Dispute

Perhaps you noticed a big change on Spotify: Over the past week, a number of high-profile stand-up comics, among them John Mulaney, Kevin Hart, and Tiffany Haddish, were suddenly AWOL from the streamer’s vast coffers. Well, there’s a reason for that: As per Entertainment Weekly, hundreds of comedians wanted to get paid when their audio version of their acts are played. And for now, at least, they’re simply no longer there.

Hundreds of comics have banded together to push back against a contractual difference between spoken word and musical artists. Musicians are paid royalties whenever a song is played on Spotify. The same does not apply to comedians. As per EW:

A growing number of comedians are seeking to get paid royalties when their jokes are played on streaming or radio, much the way songwriters are compensated for usage of their music and lyrics. The company Spoken Giants, which counts such performers as Gabriel Iglesias, Patton Oswalt, Paula Poundstone, and Roy Wood Jr. as members, is attempting to secure a more lucrative deal for “spoken-word creative works,” according to its website.

“Compared to music and other media, Spoken Word assets are under-represented in today’s sonic landscape and more importantly key rights, provided for under copyright law, are not paid by the very channels that obtain great value from using comedy works, podcasts, and other spoken-word assets,” a statement on Spoken Giants’ site reads.

Negotiations between Spoken Giants and Spotify evidently has not gone swimmingly. After talks, the group received an email from the streamer saying that content from the comics associated with them would simply be removed until further negotiations.

Spotify has long been criticized for not adequately compensating the reams of artists that fill their coffers. And sometimes, as in this case, those artists push back.

(Via EW)