Spotify is claiming they overpaid songwriters and publishers in 2018 and now they want their money back.

The situation is touchy as artists and publishers have decried the company's poor compensation model, which lead to the U.S. Copyright Royalty Board mandating a 44 percent payout increase between 2018 and 2022. Spotify is currently appealing the mandate while simultaneously exploiting its complexities to seek financial restitution, reports Music Business Worldwide.

The complexities concern Spotify's student discount plans (student accounts equate to 0.5 subscribers) and family bundle rates (family bundle accounts equate to 1.5 subscribers), which allow up to six family members to share the same account for just a few dollars more a month.

Rather than require songwriters and publishers to pay back this money owed, Spotify intends to deduct the balance from 2019 payouts.

"Spotify is clawing back millions of dollars from publishers in the U.S. based on the new CRB rates that favor the DSPs [Digital Service Providers], while appealing the [wider CRB decision]. This puts some music publishers in a negative position. It’s unbelievable," a "senior figure" in the music publishing industry told MBW.

David Israelite, CEO of the National Music Publishers Association, responded to Spotify's actions, telling MBW, "I find it so hypocritical for a digital service that is appealing the CRB decision to then take advantage of the parts of that decision that benefit it. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised."

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