19 Entertainment Sues Sony Music for Withholding Millions of Royalties from AMERICAN IDOL Artists
According to The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Recordings has filed a lawsuit against Sony Music for withholding millions of dollars in royalties from its artists, who include Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, Carrie Underwood, Christ Daughtry and more. The lawsuit is seeking $10 million in damages.
"We did not want to have to file this lawsuit," 19 Entertainment head of music Jason Morey told THR, "but Sony left us no choice, so this became necessary to protect our artists. Our complaint lays out the claims in great detail. Everything we have to say about the case is set forth in it."
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American Idol creator Simon Fuller founded 19 Recordings, which is now overseen by Core Media Group, which also owns IDOL. IDOL winners have signed with the label as part of their participation in the show.
A large part of the complaint has to do with the language surrounding content streamed on services from Spotify, Google and Apple. Sony has reportedly been deeming streamed music as "sales" or "distributions", which draw a small royalty share, rather than "transmissions" or "broadcasts", which result in a 50 percent royalty.
Sony Music is also accused of taking out more money than necessary -- and without permission -- for TV advertising for artists' albums and tours, as well as taking "improper deductions" for music videos and foreign income taxes, and not paying the correct amount of royalties on compilation albums.
Sony has argued back that 19 Entertainment is overpaid on certain items but would not comment to THR.
American Idol XIII is produced by FremantleMedia North America and 19 Entertainment, a division of CORE Media Group. The series was created by Simon Fuller and is executive produced by Simon Fuller, Cecile Frot-Coutaz, Trish Kinane, Per Blankens, Jesse Ignjatovic and Evan Prager. Louis J. Horvitz is director and Rickey Minor is musical director.