Enrique Iglesias claims he’s missed out on “millions of dollars” because his record label allegedly dropped the ball in two of his contracts.
The lawsuit, filed yesterday (Jan 24) in Miami against Universal Music B.V, claims Universal Music Group failed to properly assign a royalty rate for streaming in two contracts. The first contract was signed in May 1999 and the second was signed in May 2010.
Essentially, Enrique Iglesias’ legal team allege that, because the record contracts state that a 50% royalty would be paid ‘for any type of use not specifically covered [here]’, then they should have been paying him 50% of net receipts from streaming services.
Given Enrique Iglesias has clocked up over 10 billion views on YouTube, and the fact he has over 16.7 million monthly listeners on Spotify – not to mention his plays on Apple Music and Pandora – the suit is calling UMG’s alleged discrepancy “improper accounting”.
Enrique Iglesias alleges UMG has breached its contractual obligations
“Despite Iglesias’ record-breaking success, Universal has refused to reciprocate and breached its contractual obligations to Iglesias,” reads the suit. “Specifically, Universal has been systematically underpaying Iglesias’ streaming royalties by calculating those royalties at a small fraction of the contractually-required fifty percent (50%) royalty rate.”
In March last year, Iglesias audited UMG’s books (a contractual right we encourage any artist to exercise who would like to look into their royalty numbers), but it seemed UMG hasn’t been cooperative as yet.
“Universal’s numbers are so distorted that Iglesias demanded to exercise his contractual right to inspect Universal’s books. Universal refused,” reads the suit.
“This gross discrepancy can be explained, in part, by Universal’s improper crediting of streams at the incorrect Album Royalty Rate […] because Iglesias ranks among the most-streamed artists, this improper accounting has resulted in a shortfall of millions of dollars.”
Iglesias has requested a full trial by jury. He wants the Court to enforce the contract’s 50% streaming royalty rate, order a fair accounting of royalties earned, and request Universal pay him the royalties they have refused to acknowledge.