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Danish man on trial for fraud after allegedly making £500k from streaming

February 24th, 2024

An unnamed Danish man has gone on trial in Aarhus over accusations that he illegally made 4.38m kroner (£502,000) in royalties from streaming sites.

The case, thought to be the first of its kind, has seen prosecutors alleging that the 53-year-old man profited from streams of almost 700 pieces of music across a number of platforms including Spotify, Apple Music and YouSee Musik.

As per The Guardian, prosecutors claim the huge numbers of streams required to generate this much revenue from streaming couldn’t have been achieved by genuine users. They allege that unauthorised techniques were likely to have been used instead to generate the streaming figures between 2013 and 2019.

The man has subsequently been charged with data fraud as well as breaching copyright law by taking work from other artists, changing the length and speed of the songs and publishing them under his own name.

Spotify – CREDIT: Rafael Henrique/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The man has pleaded not guilty and the defendant’s lawyer, Henrik Garlik, told Danish broadcaster DR: “I don’t think that such a case – regarding matters which the prosecution believes to be data fraud in connection with playbacks of musical works via various tendering services – has ever been tried in court.

“Somewhat dependent on the result, there is a possibility that both my client and the prosecution will appeal the verdict to the high court. And I also do not want to deny that a case like this could reach the supreme court.”
The verdict in the case is expected to be delivered next Tuesday (February 27).

According to reports, the prosecution are seeking a fine, prison sentence and the confiscation of all the royalties the defendant allegedly earned from the scam.

Anna Lidell and Lasse Matthiessen, the chair and a vice-chair of Autor – a Danish association for composers, songwriters, lyricists and producers – told The Guardian: “This is one of a kind, not only within Danish territory but globally. The scale of streaming numbers … has not been seen before.”

In other news, Spotify continues to come under fire for its model of paying artists.

The company recently announced a streaming threshold of 1,000 plays before songs are able to generate royalties. According to Spotify data, there are around 100million songs on the service, yet only around 37.5million meet the new requirements to generate revenue.

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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