Peloton sued for $150 million by 10 different music publishers

Peloton, Peloton Lawsuit, Music Sync, Sync Licensing Lawsuit, Music Business, Music Law

Peloton is facing an exhausting legal workout after the company allegedly failed to secure prop sync licensing for its popular exercise equipment.

Bad news for the latest exercise craze. Music publishers are suing Peloton, the maker of the ‘social’ exercise bike, for failing to license the songs that play during its streaming spinning classes. The lawsuit was filed on Tuesday by the National Music Publishers Association in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York and seeks $150 million in damages.

From the information made available, it appears like Peloton skipped critical synchronization licenses for its music-intensive video workouts.  Synchronization, or ‘sync’ licenses, cover the use of music when paired (or ‘synced’) with audio-visual action.

“Unfortunately, instead of recognizing the integral role of songwriters to its company, Peloton has built its business by using their work without their permission or fair compensation for years,” said NMPA President and CEO David Israelite in a statement. 

Artists mentioned in the lawsuit include Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran, Wiz Khalifa, Thomas Rhett, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Florida Georgia Line, Drake, and Gwen Stefani, among others.

Valued at $4 billion, Peloton sells an exercise bike that aims to make working out a social experience for those who prefer to sweat at home and those unable to reach a gym. The company has sold more than 400,000 bikes to date. Peloton owners pay an additional $39 per month for live classes they can stream right from their bike, and those classes are the source of the lawsuit.

Speaking to Engadget, a representative for Peloton commented, “We just received the complaint this morning, and we are evaluating it. Peloton has great respect for songwriters and artists. In fact, we have partnered with each of the major music publishers, record labels and performing rights organizations, and many leading independents. We have also invested heavily to build a best-in-breed reporting and licensing system to support our partners and provide our members with a world-class fitness experience.”

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James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.