Kenny Rogers Sues Capitol Records

The singer claims label underpaid royalties for online music sales.

Kenny Rogers has filed a federal lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Tennessee against label Capitol Records. The singer claims breach of contract by the label for underpaying royalties due him for music sold as digital downloads and ringtones, according to The Tennessean. Kenny signed with United Artists in 1975, though Capitol Records took over the contract in 1977.

A key component in the lawsuit claims that the label kept royalties due Kenny for digital songs by classifying them as songs that are "sold" rather than "licensed." Songs that are licensed for distribution typically warrant a 50/50 split between the artist and record label. Songs that are "sold" earn a smaller percentage for the artist. The suit does not specify a dollar amount sought in the case, though Kenny additionally claims he was underpaid in excess of $400,000 due to accounting errors by the label. The accounting dispute has been an ongoing case since 2007.

The case is scheduled for a May 21 court date.


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