Record labels, artists
Both American rocker Eddie Money and the Doobie Brothers have reached out of court settlements with their record labels, Sony Music and Warners respectively, regarding the payment of royalties on digital revenues. The cases were two of the many that US heritage artists have brought against all of the majors following the landmark ruling in the case between FBT Productions and Universal Music over whether download money should be treated as record sales or licensing income – artists usually get a much bigger cut of the latter than the former. Doobie Brothers frontman Michael McDonald used lawyer Richard Busch (King & Ballow), who won a landmark digital royalties decision in 2010 when he represented rapper Eminem’s producers FBT against Universal (F.B.T. Productions v. Aftermath Records). Busch has led the charge in the songwriters and recording artists assault against labels over royalty money and Busch has reportedly negotiated confidential settlements for such clients as Peter Frampton, Kenny Rogers and Roy Thomas Baker, who produced albums for Queen, The Cars and others. Busch filed a $5 million royalties suit in April for “Weird Al” Yankovic, which is still pending. Having commented on Spotify and digital royalties in the previous update – its becoming clear why this is of such importance to the three major record labels, Sony, Warners and Universal.