Peloton settled its music licensing suit for its use of songs in fitness videos without permission. Peloton was sued by a group of 14 music publishers, who claimed that the fitness company used more than 2,000 songs without their permission in at least one video over the past three years. Artists affected include Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, Justin Timberlake, and St. Vincent. Peloton filed a countersuit alleging antitrust violations, but the case was dismissed. According to the announcement, “Peloton and the trade association have entered into a joint collaboration agreement and will work together to further optimize Peloton’s music licensing systems and processes.”
In an agreement with the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), the trade group representing the publishers, Peloton will license the music it uses going forward. It is unclear if Peloton obtained any licenses through the settlement agreement. The terms of the agreement were not specified.
“We are pleased the music publishers and their songwriter partners in this case have reached a settlement with Peloton that compensates creators properly and sets forth the environment for a positive relationship going forward,” David Israelite, NMPA President & CEO said. “Peloton is an innovative company, and we are impressed with the company’s investment in technology and commitment to delivering a powerful, authentic music experience. We look forward to our ongoing collaboration to find solutions that will benefit all songwriters.”
“Music is an important part of the Peloton experience, and we are very proud to have pioneered a new revenue stream for recording artists and songwriters,” Paul DeGooyer, Head of Music at Peloton said. “We’re equally proud to partner with David and the NMPA to ensure that songwriters are, and continue to be, fairly compensated. With the NMPA’s input, we are confident our proprietary, state-of-the-art music system will provide an even more dynamic fitness experience for our millions of members worldwide.”
Shortly after the lawsuit, many of the songs in question were quickly removed from the videos. Peloton users argued that it made the experience worse. The complaint sought more than $150 million in damages from Peloton to the music publishers. Peloton was accused of repeated copyright infringement through its use of the protected songs in its videos without licensing these songs. For example, the song “‘Umbrella’ has been used in at least 55 separate workout videos since late 2017. Each of those uses required a separate sync license.” However, Peloton did not obtain any such license.
The suit was filed in the New York Southern District Court. Plaintiffs are represented by? Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, as well as Clarick Gueron Reisbaum. Peloton is represented by King & Spalding.