Kenny Rogers sues Capitol Records over $400K in royalties

Monday, February 13, 2012 at 6:44pm

Country music legend Kenny Rogers filed a lawsuit against Capitol Records in federal court on Monday, claiming the label owes him more than $400,000 in “non-disc” royalties.

According to the lawsuit, Capitol has failed to pay Rogers royalties from music downloads, ringtones and foreign broadcasts, which has resulted in “substantial financial detriment” for the singer.

“The failure to pay Kenny Rogers appropriately for permanent downloads and mastertones, is, upon information and belief, part of a conscious decision by Capital Records, and others in the music business to deprive artists of their proper royalties for the licensing of master recordings for sale by third party download,” the lawsuit reads.

Rogers' 1977 agreement with Capitol Records includes a portion that entitles him to “one-half” of all royalties from “pre-recorded magnetic tapes and all other non-disc records,” according to the lawsuit.

Rogers claims he asked for an audit of his Capitol royalties in 2007 — and preliminary results showed that he was owed more than $400,000. When Capitol didn't respond to Rogers' claims within his timeframe, Nashville attorney Richard S. Busch filed the lawsuit.

The lawsuit asks the court to determine the exact amount of compensatory damages at the time of the trial.

2 Comments on this post:

By: spooky24 on 2/14/12 at 6:37

Damn he is broke already? Kinda like that Oak Ridge Boy who is so far in debt that his future earnings are garnished and the IRS takes up half the audience-kind of like 'singing for free'


By: global_citizen on 2/14/12 at 8:48

I doubt he's broke and such an assertion is completely irrelevant. If someone owed you $400,000 would you want them to pay it? Of course you would.

Having worked in the recording industry myself, I know it's all too common for labels to systematically short pay their artists. They utilize just about any crafty means of denying legitimate payment of royalties as a matter of routine.

And this is why every single artist insists on the right to audit and most do so at some point. And not surprisingly, almost invariably and audit reveals a label owing an artist significant sums.