Childish Gambino superstar Donald Glover and his former label Glassnote
Records have settled a contract dispute over unpaid royalties out of court, filing paperwork late last week that was approved Monday (March 4) by a New York judge. Glover had previously claimed Glassnote owed him streaming royalties and had been miscalculating costs in breach of their licensing agreement. Both parties are responsible for their own attorneys fees and additional legal costs.
Last July, Glassnote Entertainment Group submitted a filing asking a court to declare it was owed a share of Glover’s digital performance royalties from non-interactive streaming services like Pandora and SiriusXM on the three Childish Gambino records released with the label: 2011’s Camp, 2013’s Because The Internet and 2016’s “Awaken, My Love!” The issue was non-interactive digital performance royalties work differently than on-demand digital royalties and — under federal regulations — are paid to SoundExchange, which then pays 50 percent to the owner of the master recording, 45 percent to the recording artists on the song and 5 percent to non-featured contributors. Glover contended that he was the owner of his masters and Glassnote only licensed the music, arguing that did not give the label rights to any of the SoundExchange payout.
Following Glassnote’s initial filing, last September Glover’s team hit back. The artist’s team also claimed a 2017 audit determined he was still owed substantial royalties and the label had miscalculated distribution fees and producer royalties, underreported international revenues, misreported manufacturing expenses and more.
“Despite making millions of dollars for Glassnote, attracting notoriety, interest, and cache for the label, and securing multiple Grammy nominations and awards, Glassnote refuses to account and pay to DJR royalties that it collected on DJR’s behalf, in breach of its warranties, representations, and covenants under the License Agreement,” attorney Jonathan D. Davis wrote in the complaint.
Glover left Glassnote Records in 2017 and signed a partnership deal with RCA Records covering both new recordings and a label venture. His first single under the new arrangement, “This Is America,” reached No. 1 on the Hot 100 last year and took home song of the year, record of the year, best music video and best rap/sung performance honors at last month’s Grammy Awards.