The music streaming platform Spotify has filed a countersuit against the independent record label Sosa Entertainment and its founder, 20-year-old Jake Noch. The streaming service was originally sued by Noch, who claimed that the service failed to pay him royalties on over 550 million plays from the service.
Noch claims that Spotify was allegedly trying to avoid paying him on his streams, and is seeking $150,000 in statutory damages for each infringement. Spotify is seeking damages for fraud, fraudulent concealment, breach of contract, indemnification, unjust enrichment and deceptive business practices in their countersuit.
According to Billboard, Noch also released several press releases claiming lawsuits against companies such as Spotify, Apple, Google, YouTube, Amazon, SoundCloud, Pandora, Deezer and iHeartRadio.
Spotify alleges that the company “designed a scheme to artificially generate hundreds of millions of fraudulent streams” in order to allegedly “manipulate Spotify’s system to extract undeserved royalties at the expense of hardworking artists and songwriters.”
The company also claims to have screenshots of messages, which claim that Noch allegedly contacted a “bot farmer” to help reach his high streaming numbers. Spotify also brought charts alongside their suit, which allegedly show the label’s music go from zero to hundreds of thousands of streams in several days. They also claim that Noch allegedly changed the names of his tracks to resemble those of hit songs such as XXXTentacion’s “SAD!” and DJ Snake’s “Taki Taki.”
One example alleges that one of Noch’s albums jumped from zero streams to more than 400,000 in just days, with 99 percent of the streams allegedly coming from Spotify’s ad-supported free tier, alongside accounts registered to male users within the United States.
The company reportedly discovered the alleged irregular activity on Noch’s accounts in 2016, effectively banning him from using the service. They allege that Noch tried to “smuggle” his music back onto the platform after this removal by allegedly using different names and millions of fake accounts.
“This was one of the most egregious fraudulent streaming operations from a single rights holder that Spotify had to deal with in its company’s history,” the complaint from the streaming giant reads.