Journey's Producer Sues Sony Over Unpaid Royalties For 21 Classic Songs
from the not-just-artists-getting-screwed dept
For years, we have highlighted the great lengths that major labels go through to avoid paying out royalties to artists. These actions culminated in a number of artists suing the label in an attempt to actually be paid the royalties owed to them on music sales. Sony hasn't been immune to these lawsuits either. In fact, it has just recently settled a lawsuit over iTunes sales. With all these attempts to avoid paying artists and then being forced to by the courts, is it really a surprise to learn that artists aren't the only ones getting screwed by these labels?
While most of our stories revolve around the artists who get screwed, there are other people getting screwed in the process as well. One of these people is a music producer by the name of Roy Thomas Baker, a producer for the likes of Queen, Guns N' Roses and Journey. Roy is now suing Sony for unpaid royalties on 21 Journey songs.
Sony was supposed to pay Baker royalties under a producer agreement, according to his 18-page federal lawsuit. But Baker says an audit of Sony's books revealed that the music company had been underreporting his royalties by more than $475,000 for the period audited.
He says Sony is refusing to release other documents that might uncover additional underreporting since the audit, and he estimates that his royalties may have been underreported by more than $500,000 before the audit using Sony's incorrect rates.
If these allegations against Sony are true, that is quite a lot of money that Sony was not paying out. It really isn't surprising at all though. We have seen such payment dodging from all throughout the legacy entertainment industries. Publishers, labels, movie studios and game publishers have all used such tricks to avoid paying out money to the people who actually make possible the income they have. All the while claiming that they support the people in the trenches.
This lawsuit also highlights something we pointed out about that settlement Sony made earlier in the year, that Sony got off way too easily.
Baker says he opted out of a class action over Sony's alleged failure to correctly pay artists for downloaded music because the proposed settlement in March “is wholly insufficient to make plaintiff whole.”
Because no matter how you worked out the split of the $5 million that Sony set aside for settlement, Roy would not have made anything close to the $475,000 he says he is owed. If other artists and producers feel the same way, Sony's legal team won't get any rest any time soon.
All in all, these lawsuits are just another indication that the entertainment industry is changing. As more and more artists are able to bypass legacy gatekeepers and only use those enablers that truly add value to their work and make more money in the process, those artists stuck with legacy gatekeepers will wonder why they aren't making as much money as they feel they should. They will eventually leave those gatekeepers, but in the meantime, we will see a whole lot more actions like this as those artists and other enablers seek to get paid.