Spotify removes many comedians’ work from streaming platform over royalties dispute

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Jim Gaffigan performs onstage during the 15th Annual Stand Up For Heroes benefit at Alice Tully Hall presented by Bob Woodruff Foundation and NY Comedy Festival on Nov. 8, 2021, in New York City.

Jamie McCarthy | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Spotify removed hundreds of comedians’ albums and work from the streaming platform amid a dispute over royalties and copyright, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A global rights administration company, Spoken Giants, is working with a group of high-profile comedians to negotiate terms that would allow the comics to be paid when their work is paid on platforms like Spotify, SiriusXM, Pandora and YouTube, the Journal reported Saturday. Spotify removed work from performers such as Tiffany Haddish, Jim Gaffigan, Kevin Hart and John Mulaney.

The comedians aim to collect royalties for “underlying composition copyrights of spoken-word media,” according to the Journal, similar to the way a songwriter would be paid for their music and lyrics.

Spotify took the comedians’ work off the streaming platform when the two groups met an impasse.

“Spotify has paid significant amounts of money for the content in question, and would love to continue to do so,” according to a Spotify statement to CNBC. “However, given that Spoken Giants is disputing what rights various licensors have, it’s imperative that the labels that distribute this content, Spotify and Spoken Giants come together to resolve this issue to ensure this content remains available to fans around the globe.”

Read more about the negotiations in The Wall Street Journal.

Correction: Spoken Giants does not represent comedian Kevin Hart. That fact was misstated in an earlier version of this article.

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