Peloton to stop using songs named in lawsuit over bike workout classes

NEW YORK, March 25 (Reuters) - Peloton Interactive Inc said on Monday it will stop streaming workout videos on its stationary bicycles that include songs it was accused in a lawsuit of using without permission.

In a letter to Peloton members, Chief Executive John Foley said the company will no longer offer classes featuring the more than 1,000 songs named in the $150 million copyright lawsuit, which 10 music publishers filed on March 19.

The publishers accused Peloton of “trampling” their rights by incorporating a wide array of songs for free.

These included songs by newer artists like Drake, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Katy Perry, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake and Carrie Underwood, as well as older artists like Pat Benatar, Meat Loaf, Bobby “Boris” Pickett, Rush and The Who.

“Peloton respects the rights of all creators, including performing artists and songwriters,” Foley wrote.

“The filing of the lawsuit is unfortunate and disappointing, as it occurred after what appeared to be fruitful discussions with most of the publishers named,” he added. “Regardless, out of an abundance of caution, we have decided to remove classes that feature songs that were identified by these publishers.”

Foley told members the change will not affect their cycling experience, or its cost, and that the New York-based company still has licenses to a “broad catalog” of other music.

It was unclear how the announcement will affect the lawsuit by Big Deal Music, Downtown Music Publishing, Ole, Peermusic, Pulse Music Publishing, Reservoir, The Richmond Organization, Round Hill, Royalty Network and Ultra Music.

The publishers’ lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Founded in 2012, Peloton sells bicycles starting at $2,245, in packages requiring memberships to access live and on-demand classes. Access to unlimited classes costs $39 a month.

The company is expected to seek a more than $4 billion valuation in an initial public offering that could occur in the second half of 2019, The Wall Street Journal has said.

The case is Downtown Music Publishing LLC et al v Peloton Interactive Inc, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 19-02426. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York Additional reporting by Ed Tobin; Editing by Tom Brown)