Music Mondays – Enrique Iglesias sues Universal for lost royalties in multimillion dollar lawsuit

Enrique Iglesias is suing his former record label for “systematically underpaying” his streaming royalties.

According to a new lawsuit filed in a Miami federal court, Iglesias alleges that he only received what is described as a “small fraction” of his 50% royalty rate for streaming from Universal Music Group (UMG), resulting in multimillion dollar losses, Billboard reports.

The Latin star is also challenging the equivalency of physical and digital sales in his contract. In a statement provided to Billboard, Iglesias’ attorney James Sammataro outlined the lucrative nature of Iglesias’ partnership with UMG, which ended in 2015. “Despite this record-breaking success, Universal has wrongly insisted that artists like Enrique be paid for streams in the same manner as they are paid for physical records despite the fact that none of the attendant costs (production, distribution, inventory, losses) actually exist in the digital world.”

Streaming did not exist in 1999, when Iglesias first signed with UMG. The suit claims his original contract indicated digital download sales would be paid at the same royalty rate as for physical albums, at 50% of UMG’s net receipts, and that “for any type of use not specifically covered”, the royalty rate would remain the same.

When Iglesias re-signed with UMG in 2010, his deal included two additional albums, though didn’t specifically mention streaming. Iglesias’ suit claims this was “not an oversight”, stating that “until approximately 2016, Interscope properly recognised and credited Iglesias’ streaming royalties at 50%”. However, Iglesias’s streaming royalties were then lowered, in line with a label directive – hence the lawsuit, which requests a proper accounting of Iglesias’ royalties, access to UMG’s books, and damages.

Universal are yet to respond to the lawsuit.

– Excerpt from article for The Guardian by Laura Snapes. See the full article here

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