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Kenny Rogers Sues Capitol Records

We seldom stop to think about all the crazy things that go on behind the scenes in music.  A fan or listener simply just enjoys the music, without realizing all the effort put into production and the politics of promoting and managing a recording career.  We recently learned of the major troubles Tim McGraw had with Curb Records, now the legendary Kenny Rogers is suing Capitol Records.

Kenny Rogers has filed a federal lawsuit against Capitol Records in Nashville, claiming the label deliberately misled Rogers and other artists about payments owed to them for online music sales.  ‘The Gambler’ is alleging breach of contract for underpayments on digital song royalties stretching back more than 30 years.  Rogers’ suit is the latest in a growing number of lawsuits brought by artists against their record labels over how they have shared royalties in sales of music online.

According to the Tennessean, Each of the lawsuits claims that record labels have deliberately underpaid artists royalties for music sold online by defining the transaction as a “sale” of music rather than a “license.”The distinction is important because music licensed for distribution typically includes a 50/50 split with the artist. Music “sold” typically earns the artist a much smaller percentage.

In Rogers’ case, the suit does not specify a dollar amount in unpaid digital royalties to be sought. In addition to those unspecified royalties, Rogers’ suit also alleges he was underpaid in excess of $400,000 by Capitol Records due to a variety of accounting errors.

That accounting dispute has been ongoing since 2007, according to the suit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. The case is scheduled in court on May 21.

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