The spin start-up has allegedly used "more than 1,000 musical works" without proper licensing.

By Emily Caron
March 19, 2019

A group of 10 music publishers filed a $150 million copyright infringement lawsuit against Peloton on Tuesday in a New York federal court for allegedly failing to license "more than 1,000 musical works" in its spin classes and videos. The publishers are suing the at-home bike company for using unlicensed music by Drake, Lady Gaga, Gwen Stefani, Justin Timberlake, Ariana Grande and more. 

The publishers, including Downtown Music Publishing, Pulse Music Publishing, ole, peermusic, Ultra Music, Big Deal Music, Reservoir, Round Hill, TRO Essex Music Group and The Royalty Network, have accused the fitness company of failing to license songs from the companies which has resulted in a loss of income. 

According to the lawsuit, the company has repeatedly utilized songs for which it does not have licenses covering the full publishing rights, or even in some cases any of the publishing rights, in its spin classes “over a period of years in the videos that it makes available to its hundreds of thousands of customers" since 2014 when Peloton launched its at-home streaming service.

David Israelite, chief executive of the National Music Publishers’ Association, a trade group representing the plaintiffs, said music was responsible for much of Peloton’s business success but the parties responsible for the music have not been treated as so.

"There is this inexplicable situation where Peloton seems to have licensed properly some music, but not all music," Israelite told Billboard. "I'm sure there are other publishers whose songs are being used that are not currently included in our complaint, but we always have inability to amend that complaint in the future."

He added: "This could be the tip of the iceberg."

Unlicensed music by Kanye West, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, Wiz Khalifa, Thomas Rhett, Justin Bieber and Florida Georgia line and from DJs such as Tiesto, Benny Benassi and the late Avicii has also allegedly been used.

Peloton responded to the news on Wednesday. 

"We just received the complaint yesterday, and we are evaluating it," a Peloton spokeperson said. "Peloton has great respect for songwriters and artists. In fact, we have partnered with each of the major music publishers, record labels and performing rights organizations, and many leading independents. We have also invested heavily to build a best-in-breed reporting and licensing system to support our partners and provide our members with a world-class fitness experience."

More songs could be added to the suit as well, dating back to before 2017 when Peloton's playlists were not publicized.

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