Peloton, the equipment maker that specializes in exercise bikes and treadmills, is being sued for more than $150 million in damages by a group of music publishers who say Peloton used songs from several major artists — including Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Drake — without consent.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York, said Peloton has used more than 1,000 unlicensed songs in its workout videos. Since 2012, Peloton has offered music-driven workout videos to go along with its $2,200 bikes, with customers paying about $40 per month to stream its live classes. Peloton also offers its content to people not using it equipment.
The publishers — Downtown Music Publishing, Big Deal Music, Reservoir, Round Hill, Royalty Network, TRO Essex Music Group and Pulse Music Publishing — said Peloton has been a “willful infringer” of copyright laws for years in the lawsuit, leading to a loss of income. Popular songs used without consent in Peloton’s 13,000 videos, according to the lawsuit, include “Shallow,” Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper’s hit single from “A Star Is Born,” “Umbrella” by Rihanna, and “This Is America” by Childish Gambino. Classic rock hits from Aerosmith, Motley Crue and Ted Nugent, among others, were also lifted without consent, according to the suit.
“We just received the complaint this morning, and we are evaluating it,” Peloton said in a statement. “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.”
“Music is a core part of the Peloton business model and is responsible for much of the brand’s swift success. Thousands of exclusive videos and playlists are a major reason hundreds of thousands of people have purchased Peloton products,” David Israelite, president of the National Music Publishers’ Association, said in a statement. “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.”
The lawsuit comes as Peleton looks to go public later this year, according to The Wall Street Journal, with a $4 billion valuation.
Pamela Chelin contributed to this report.