Glassnote Sues Donald Glover Over Streaming Royalties

Donald Glover’s former label is suing him over streaming royalties. TMZ reports that Glassnote Records, the independent label that signed Glover in 2011 and released all of his Childish Gambino material up until this year’s “This Is America,” has filed a lawsuit claiming that Glover has received over $700,000 in streaming royalties since 2012 and hasn’t paid them their percentage of the earnings. Glassnote says that it’s entitled to 50% of public performance royalties, with 45% due to Glover and the remaining 5% to featured artists and producers.

Usually, performance royalties are paid to the label, who would then divide the fees based on its contract with the artist. But apparently, as Variety reports, Glover is insisting that he’s entitled to 100% of the performance royalties and has been collecting the fees directly from SoundExchange. “In late 2017, the License Agreement expired,” according to Glassnote’s complaint. “Shortly thereafter, Glover, apparently unsatisfied with the approximately $10 million in royalties already paid or due to him by Glassnote and the 45% of the public performance royalties from SoundExchange, took the position that he was entitled to the entirety of Glassnote’s 50% share of public performance royalties from SoundExchange — and that Glassnote was not entitled to any such royalty.”

Glassnote says it’s already paid Glover nearly $8 million in royalties and expects to pay him another $2 million in royalties over the next few months. They’re claiming that Glover’s legal representatives demanded “a payment of $1.5 million as well as 100% of the ‘rights owner’ share of SoundExchange royalties on a moving forward basis,” and the label is asking the U.S. District Court in the Southern New York District to allow them to keep the royalties they’ve already received and to make a determination on the contract dispute. Glover left Glassnote and signed to RCA early this year.