Universal Music Group to Repay Millions in Royalties to Artists



Universal Music Group has been ordered to pay $11.5 million in a settlement in which they allege they, “appropriately paid royalties on digital downloads.”

Public Enemy’s Chuck D and the estate of the late Rick James are among a few of the parties to profit from the recent settlement on due royalties from digital downloads.

In addition to the settlement, the Hollywood Reporter reports that Universal Music will also provide an increase in artist royalties due to a lawsuit stemming from the companies classification of digital downloads.

Universal Music reportedly cheated artists out of additional money they were owed by classifying digital downloads as “sales” rather than “licenses,” the lawsuit states.

Despite the suit, Universal contends that artists were paid appropriately: “Although we are confident we appropriately paid royalties on digital downloads and adhered to the terms of contracts, we are pleased to amicably resolve this matter and avoid continued legal costs,” Universal Music said in a statement.

Attorney Len Simon, who represented the plaintiffs agreed that the settlement was fair: “This settlement is a fair resolution of this controversy over how to compensate artists for their valuable work in a new medium which we believe was not contemplated by their contracts, many drafted in the 1970s or 1980s,” Simon said. “And it compensates these artists now, rather than after additional years of litigation and uncertainty.”

The $11.5 million settlement will compensate nearly 7,500 artists.


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