Pandora has a gaggle of attorneys and lobbyists camping out at
Capitol Hill, all pressing for lowering royalty
obligations. Now, Spotify is getting into the same game.
According to details
just leaked by DC insider Politico, Spotify is now
retaining the services for four high-priced lobbying
firms: Forbes-Tate, Peck Madigan Jones, Gibson Group and
That complements an additional two lobbying firms employed by
Spotify in Europe, according to the report.
But why, exactly? And why now? Pandora’s entire business
model hinges on government-mandated royalty rates and
regulations, and major publishers are battling to undo age-old
laws that limit their royalties. Spotify not only has an
online radio feature, but its on-demand streaming service also
involves a range of royalty payouts, including mechanical
licenses. Beyond that, Spotify pays 70+ percent of all of
its revenues to recording labels and content owners through
open market negotiations, something it might be trying to
Then, there’s Apple, which is about to drop Beats
onto Spotify’s head, and thousands of exclusives with
EU regulators are already examining Apple’s market power in
this space, and the potentially unfair advantage. That
includes a bundled Beats, which could crowd out Spotify on iOS
decks and steer artists away from Spotify, fair or otherwise.
Back in the US, Apple spent more than $4.1 million on Capitol
Hill lobbying last year, and that’s just what we can see above
the table. Apple currently employs six separate lobbying
firms: Bernstein Strategy Group, Capitol Tax Partners, Fierce
Government Relations, Franklin Square Group, Glover Park Group
and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.