Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath Slams Peloton for Stiffing Musicians

McGrath is furious about Peloton's use of hit songs without permission from music publishers.

Mark McGrath performs at 2016 Rhonda's Kiss Benifit honoring Johnny Depp at El Rey Theatre on November 3, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

McGrath is furious about Peloton's use of hit songs without permission from music publishers.

On March 19, several music publishers teamed up to file a lawsuit against Peloton Interactive Inc, claiming that Peloton never obtained permission to use their songs for their interactive workouts. The copyright infringement case involves famous musicians, like Katy Perry, Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, and several other artists that have produced hit songs over the past few years.

Ten music publishing companies filed their lawsuit in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday asking for over $150 million in damages. The music publishing companies allege that Peloton used over 1,000 of the songs they represent in their workout videos without any permission from the music publishers. The music publishing companies are upset that Peloton ignored them and decided to not pay for licensing. However, Peloton did manage to get song licenses from other music publishing companies, and that means the popular workout company does understand how copyright law works. Peloton said they are reviewing the complaint.

“[We have] great respect for songwriters and artists [and we have] invested heavily to build a best-in-breed reporting and licensing system,” Peloton said in a statement, according to Yahoo News.

Peloton is worth an estimated $4 billion total and first began in 2012. Their most affordable bike costs around $2,245. People purchasing the bikes must also pay for monthly memberships if they want to participate in live, interactive classes. An unlimited class subscription costs $39 a month, according to Yahoo News.

Once he learned about the Peloton lawsuit, Mark McGrath, the lead singer of Sugar Ray, spoke out publicly against the company, according to TMZ. McGrath is angry that Peloton appears to have stolen songs from several famous artists as a way to make a fortune for the company while ripping off the songwriters and artists.

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McGrath, as the frontman of Sugar Ray, has written and performed some very popular songs over the years. He is understandably upset about what he feels is Peloton’s use of copyright infringement to boost the company’s popularity at the expense of musicians. McGrath also stated that he is worried for the musicians who desperately need the cash from their songs and cannot afford to have a company like Peloton steal their work.

McGrath’s point of concern is for artists that are up and coming since many of them need everything they can get to keep producing music. Chief executive of the National Music Publishers’ Association, David Israelite, claims that the use of hit songs is a major reason why Peloton achieved such a high level of popularity.

“We look forward to getting music creators what they deserve,” Israelite said, according to Yahoo News.