In a 2019 statement, Peloton’s co-founders stated their desire to have the company serve as “a discovery resource for new artists and songs while also providing the opportunity for [their] Members to re-discover music they love.” However, this statement came at a time when many artists and publishers weren’t feeling the love back. In April 2018, the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) sent Peloton a cease and desist letter in response to Peloton’s alleged use of particular songs without adequate licensing. At issue was Peloton’s alleged failure to obtain “sync” licenses, which are required when “music is synchronized with [a] visual media output,” for certain songs that were being used in Peloton classes. Subsequently, Peloton took down nearly 6,000 classes that featured the songs in dispute, and NMPA brought a lawsuit against Peloton requesting $150 million in damages, which eventually grew to $300 million. Following the removal of these classes, Peloton was sued by many of its customers for its alleged failure to supply an “ever-growing” library of classes, and the company left a group of its customers “pissed about bad music.” As this lawsuit between NMPA and Peloton progressed, you may have wondered if Peloton, artists, and music publishers would be long-term adversaries in a battle over licensing rights and costs. Fortunately for the artists, publishers, Peloton and Peloton Members, this has not been the case.
This post was originally published on the Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal website on November 10, 2021. The original post can be accessed via the Archived Link button above.
Warshaw, Seth, "Peloton Is Climbing The Music Streaming Service Leaderboard After 2020 Settlement with NMPA" (2021). AELJ Blog. 301.