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Peloton hit with $300 million damages bill for using songs without licence

Joe Robinson
20 Sep 2019

Indoor cycling experience accused of using work by top artists without right licence

Home spin cycling experience Peloton could be slapped with a $300 million damages bill for using over 1,000 songs without the right licence. The US National Music Publisher's Association (NMPA) initially took out a $150 million lawsuit in March claiming the indoor cycling brand had used a library of over 1,000 songs without adequate licensing.

Further investigations have uncovered in excess of 1,200 further songs in Peloton's music library, including works such as 'I Saw Her Standing There' by The Beatles and 'Georgia On My Mind' recorded by Ray Charles.

This latest discovery has seen the NMPA increase its bill to $300 million with president of the association David Israelite telling Forbes that Peloton's negligence of acquiring music licences was 'astounding'.

'Since filing this lawsuit we have now discovered more than double the number of songs for which the plaintiffs’ songwriters were never paid by Peloton,' said Israelite.

This potential $300 million bill for copyright infringement comes at just the wrong time for Peloton, with the American company planning to go public.

Setting a share price of around $27, the company valued itself at around $8 billion.

When filing to go onto the stock market, Peloton underlined the importance of music in its service stating: 'We depend upon third-party licences for the use of music in our content. An adverse change to, loss of, or claim that we do not hold necessary licences may have an adverse effect on our business, operating results, and financial condition.'

In response to the lawsuit, Peloton claimed it had the necessary rights for the music within its service.

'This platform could only have been developed with the close collaboration of our trusted music partners, which include all of the major labels, major music publishers and performance rights organisations, among many others,'  Peloton stated.

'We will continue to defend ourselves against claims made in this matter and look forward to pursuing our counterclaims.'

The Peloton brand has grown rapidly since its inception, using an aggressive marketing strategy which also saw the bizarre moment in which the brand tried to copyright the term 'Peloton' despite it being a term used in cycling for over a century.

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