A legal battle is now underway between two record labels over royalties from Drake’s music. In a recent decision by the New York Supreme Court, Justice Barry Ostrager denied Cash Money Records motion to dismiss Aspire Music Group’s lawsuit against them regarding unpaid profits owed to Aspire Music Group from Drake’s music.

What Happened?

In the original lawsuit, Aspire Music Group alleged that Aspire Music Group and Cash Money Records signed an agreement in 2009, in which both record labels would split 33% of the profits from Drake’s music. Aspire Music Group, in their original lawsuit, asserted that Cash Money Records broke their contractual agreement when it stopped making payments to Aspire Music Group from Drake’s royalties, as well as refused to provide accountings on Drake’s earnings.

Aspire Music Group requested Cash Money Records to provide documentary evidence of Drake’s full sales history, cumulative royalties, marketing costs, and producer royalties/recording costs and accompanying statements, as well as any other relevant information regarding profits associated with Drake’s music. Aspire Music Group asserted that there have been no documents produced by Cash Money Records to confirm whether Aspire Music Group has received its proper share of revenue from Drake’s sales.

Cash Money Records, on the other hand, argued that Aspire Music Group “failed to send timely, specific written objections to accounting statements, that Aspire failed to complete an audit of said accounting statements, and that Aspire failed to commence a suit within two years of commencing said audit.” In other words, Cash Money Records asserted that Aspire Music Group’s claims are time barred pursuant to their contractual agreement.

The Decision

Justice Ostranger disagreed with Cash Money’s Records arguments and indicated that Aspire Music Group has produced at least one request made in writing to Cash Money Records for an audit of Cash Money Records and Cash Money Records’ failure to respond.

With respect to the statue of limitations, Justice Ostranger, however, noted that New York applies a six-year statute of limitations to claims concerning breach of contract. Justice Ostranger noted that claims on or before March 1, 2010 are barred under the statute of limitations.

As this case unfolds, we will continue to provide updates as they become available.

Mark Feigenbaum provides a wide range of legal, tax, and other related cross-border services to top entertainers in Canada and the U.S. Mark offers customized solutions to your most pressing legal issues, including: music agreements, U.S. trademarks & copyrights, and employment contracts. Mark’s approach is creative, and he prides himself on his ability to think outside of the box and provide clients with bespoke solutions focused on their specific needs.

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