'American Idol' $10 million lawsuit says Sony is cheating Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and others out of royalties

By Daniel S Levine,

The record company that represents artists who gained fame through Fox’s American Idol is now suing Sony Music for millions, claiming that the major label has robbed Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood and the other singers of their deserved royalties.

19 Recordings is run by Core Media Group, the same company that owns American Idol and was founded by Idol creator Simon Fuller. The label filed its lawsuit against Sony on Thursday in New York federal court, reports The Hollywood Reporter.

19 says that the deals it and its artists made with Sony allowed Sony to rob Idol singers of millions of dollars. The label filed the lawsuit this week since it had just audited Sony’s records and the two sides did not reach a settlement.

“We did not want to have to file this lawsuit, but Sony left us no choice, so this became necessary to protect our artists. Our complaint lays out the claims in great detail,” Jason Morey, 19 Entertainment’s Worldwide Head of Music, said in a statement, notes Entertainment Weekly. “Everything we have to say about the case is set forth in it.”

The suit claims that Sony has considered streaming of songs on Spotify and other services as “sales,” which would be the same as if a listener purchased the song once on iTunes. However, 19 believes that they should be considered “broadcasts” or “transmissions,” which would give artists and 19 a 50 percent cut instead of the smaller cut received from “sales.”

19 also alleges that Sony is shutting the artists out of money from advertising, music videos and compilation albums.

Sony hasn’t commented. 19 is looking for at least $10 million in damages.

image courtesy of CBS

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