Recorded music, artists
A Dutch court has sided with EDM producer and superstar Martin Garrix in a legal dispute with his former label and management firm, Spinnin Records and MusicAllstars. Both of the defendants were founded by Eelko Van Kooten.
In August 2015 Garrix said that he was parting company with both of Van Kooten’s businesses and then launched a legal action, accusing his former manager of having provided “false and misleading information” when Garrix, as a teenager, had signed his deals with Van Kooten’s companies.
The producer also alleged that, by signing an artist he managed to his own label in 2012, Van Kooten had a clear conflict of interest, and that he had signed a recording deal that was in Van Koote’s own interests, but that Van Kooten should have been representing the interests of his client – Garrix. Garrix’s father countersigned the recordng agreement with the then teenager (he is now 21).
In the original lawsuit, Garrix sought to reclaim the sound recording rights that had been assigned to Spinnin Records and 4.35 million Euros in damages. Spinnin counterclaimed, arguing that Garrix’s unilateral termination of contract had cost the label over 6.4 million Euros in revenue. Sme elements of the dispute were settled out of court in December 2015,
The Lelystad court in the Netherlands has now ruled in Garrix’s favour, agreeing that Van Kooten had a conflict of interest when he signed an artist he managed to his own record company. The court noted that the Spinnin Records founder could have overcome that conflict by involving a third party arbiter, but did not. The court ruled:
“During the talks in 2013 about renewing the production agreement with Spinnin Records, there has been conflict of interest due to the CEO’s double hats … [MusicAllStars] had to take action at that time. For example, by assisting Garrix in the negotiations by an independent third party. ”
Garrix said in a statement: “I am happy with this outcome. Not only for myself but also for all other DJs/producers out there, since this case was not only about me, but about all of us artists”.
CMU Daily reports that the ruling comes less than two weeks after Warner Music announced that it had acquired dance label Spinnin and its sister companies, including MusicAllstars. Van Kooten also announced he was leaving the business following that acquisition. A spokesperson for the label said the company was now reviewing this week’s ruling before deciding whether or not to appeal. Meanwhile, Garrix’s claim for damages is yet to be assessed.