Changes in Spotify-Owned Findaway Voice's Terms of Use Sparks Industry Concern

The Coalition of Concerned Creators outlines changes, reactions and sources for literary creators to learn more as new Findaway Terms of Use generate confusion and concern

NEW YORK, Feb. 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Spotify-owned Findaway Voices recently introduced new terms of use for its Audiobook Product, a platform used by authors to publish their audiobooks on major services. As a result, the new terms sparked significant concern among authors and rights holders, prompting many to swiftly attempt to cancel their contracts or voice their concerns on social channels.

“At the moment this was announced, it became clear that this would pose an immediate threat to the livelihoods of thousands of independent authors and creators,” said the Coalition of Concerned Creators. “We have seen what happened to musicians when Spotify forced new terms and royalty changes on them, and we should all be hyper-cognizant of how Spotify could try to exploit authors in the same way.”

Findaway Voices and Spotify’s contentious history of licensing terms and its undervaluation of artists and creators has intensified concerns.

In the initial email detailing the changes, the updated terms would have allowed Spotify to use independent authors’ work without paying royalties, sparking immediate backlash from indie authors, narrators and author groups. The terms initially stated, “You hereby grant Spotify a non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, fully paid, irrevocable, worldwide license to reproduce, make available, perform and display, translate, modify, create derivative works from, distribute, and otherwise use any such User Content through any medium…you also agree to waive, and not to enforce, any “moral rights” or equivalent rights, such as your right to object to derogatory treatment of such User Content.

The backlash against these new terms was so intense that Findaway Voices did immediate damage control, modifying them the very next day. Despite the update, there are still questions that have yet to be answered about the extent of Spotify’s rights. The Society of Authors “urged Spotify to explicitly clarify in their terms of use that no works will be used in the development of any type of generative artificial intelligence model or product without creators’ permission.”

“I terminated my contract with Findaway Voices,” said R.J. Blain, an author and a member of the Coalition of Concerned Creators. “I was in their Royalty Share (Voices Share) program, and I informed them I was not accepting their terms of use promptly after they announced the changes. They are attempting to force me into paying their cancellation fee for refusing to accept their terms of use. I have said no.”

Authors and narrators have been advised to review the updated terms and consider their options carefully.

In a first-response statement to the coalition, Orna Ross, the Founder of the Alliance of Independent Authors, said, “Our Watchdog, John Doppler, has been in touch, and we’re waiting for Findaway to come back to us on the issues raised.” 

To learn more about this ongoing incident, you can read the following resources and articles:

About the Coalition of Concerned Creators

We are writers, musicians, literary agents, and other creators demanding transparency from Spotify. Specifically, we are concerned by the streaming giant’s new audiobook streaming offering and the impact it will have on author compensation, the value of books, and the literary industry more broadly.

Press Contact: [email protected]

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SOURCE Coalition of Concerned Creators


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