The lawsuit alleges that Spotify took a "shortcut" and did not obtain the musical composition copyright for 10,784 songs published by Wixen. Other musicians signed under Wixen include Missy Elliot, Janis Joplin, and The Beach Boys.
It was recently learned that Wixen Music Publishing filed a case in California against the Sweden-based music streaming giant. Either a direct license from Wixen or a compulsory license would have permitted Spotify to reproduce and/or distribute the Works as part of the Service, including by means of digital phonorecord deliveries ("DPDs"), interactive streaming, and limited downloads.
Music licensing is notoriously complex, with each song having multiple rights holders who can be hard to identify and locate.
Spotify countered that Wixen had only "assumed" their authority to file a lawsuit after sending their clients a letter "stating that it would submit Requests for Exclusion in their names unless - within a short time frame - the client affirmatively provided Wixen Music with contrary instructions". However, since the streaming service was in a rush "in a race to be first to market", it failed to get all the proper licenses yet still served the songs on its platform.
For well over a decade, the music industry has been trying to figure out the Internet and they have failed more often than they have succeeded. Spotify launched in 2008 and Apple Music came on the scene in 2015.
Ever since the capacity to stream data like movies, television shows, and the music was developed there has been a battle between publishers, labels and artists to protect their content from being illegally shared without them being properly compensated for it.