Donald Glover In Legal Dispute With Record Label Over Childish Gambino Royalties

Donald Glover and his former record label are at odds over royalties that the actor/writer/musician believes he’s entitled to but has not been paid for the music he’s released via his rap alter-ego Childish Gambino.

As Variety reports, Glassnote Records — the label that released Childish Gambino’s music from 2011 until 2017 — has filed a declaratory judgment in a New York court alleging that it’s entitled to 50 per cent of SoundExchange payouts for “non-interactive digital performance royalties” — defined as “monies paid by such streaming services as Pandora, Spotify, SiriusXM and other webcasters which are considered digital radio.”

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Under normal circumstances, notes Variety, these royalties would go directly to the label, which would then divide up the money based on its contract with the artist. In this respect, Glassnote is claiming the label is entitled to half of these royalties, while Glover should receive 45 per cent (the remaining 5 per cent would then go to featured artists and producers).

Since 2012, Glover has been paid approximately $700,000 in this particular type of royalty; however, the complaint says that Glover believes he should receive the full 100 per cent of these royalties.

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“In late 2017, the License Agreement expired,” states 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 per cent of the public performance royalties from SoundExchange, took the position that he was entitled to the entirety of Glassnote’s 50-per-cent share of public performance royalties from SoundExchange — and that Glassnote was not entitled to any such royalty.”

Glassnote also contends that it had “enjoyed a productive and profitable creative and business relationship” with Glover up until then. However, the relationship apparently soured and bottomed out in late June, when Glover’s legal representatives demanded “a payment of $1.5 million as well as 100 per cent of the ‘rights owner’ share of SoundExchange royalties on a moving forward basis.”

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