Hey Biz Talkers!
Last Friday, a judge ruled that superstar recording artist Kesha could not be released from her record contract with superstar producer Lukasz Gottwald, professionally known as “Dr. Luke”. Kesha’s lawsuit alleges that Dr. Luke has continually abused Kesha both sexually and emotionally since 2005 when Dr. Luke signed Kesha to his record label, Kemosabe Records which is a joint venture with Sony Music Entertainment. The judge also ruled that although Kesha cannot be released from her contract, she will be allowed to record new music with other producers. It should be noted that under Kesha’s agreement with Dr. Luke, her albums must contain at least 6 songs produced by Dr. Luke.
Whether or not Kesha’s allegations against Dr. Luke are true or false, it is abundantly clear that she no longer wants to be under contract with Dr. Luke. As a result, it is very possible that Kesha may decide not to record any new music, or record poorer quality material because of her dissatisfaction with her inability to gain a release from her contract.
In my opinion, neither party wins in this scenario. At best, Kesha records subpar material that will not sell as well as previous recordings, or Sony makes a half-hearted effort to promote new music which will not sell. At worst, Kesha may decide not to record at all which means that until this mess is resolved, no one makes any money.
What’s the best way to solve this in a way that best benefits everyone? In my opinion, Sony and Dr. Luke should allow Kesha to be bought out of her agreement by another major record label and receive an override royalty on all of Kesha’s future recordings for the new label. In this scenario, Sony and Dr. Luke would earn a significant sum from both the buyout price as well as the royalties on future recordings. In Kesha’s case, she will most likely create very good music under her new deal because she will be happy with her new record label home and new recording contract. The fact of the matter is, no one benefits financially if Kesha doesn’t record new music that earns money. Moreover, If I’m Sony and Dr. Luke, I would not see it as a sound business move to force an unhappy artist to remain under contract, as doing so would never allow me to maximize profit from the business relationship. So, come on folks, let’s work this out so the music public gets more hits from Kesha, and you guys can make some more money. Stay tuned, everyone. I’ve got a feeling this fight isn’t over yet!