Despite previous reports, it turns out Glassnote Records isn't actually suing Childish Gambino after all.
Court documents cited by Billboard Tuesday related to the three albums Gambino released under Glassnote—Camp, Because the Internet, and "Awaken, My Love!"—show that the issue between the celebrated multi-hyphenate and his former label centers on a dicey contract dispute related to $700,000 in digital performance royalties from "non-interactive streaming services." According to Billboard, Donald Glover owns his master recordings (this is a very good idea, artists!) and actually licensed them out to Glassnote for a period of time that came to a close last October.
As such, Gambino's team is reportedly looking to acquire the label's 50 percent cut of royalties. The label disagrees with this approach, alleging that the masters license itself gives them the right to the cut. Instead of the previously alleged lawsuit, however, the label has filed a complaint seeking a judge to "mediate the contract dispute." Additional details noted in the Billboard report include an estimated $8 million in royalties paid to Glover over the duration of their agreement, as well as another $2 million set to hit within the next three months. Read the full thing here.
Glassnote also offered a statement to Pitchfork:
Unfortunately the reporting by TMZ is not accurate. We are not claiming Donald Glover screwed us out of anything.
Donald Glover made a claim that he was owed 95% of SoundExchange royalties when we are legislatively and contractually required to share those royalties 50/45. When we tried to assert our position, he became strident. His lawyers sent a demand for $1.5mm and threatened a lawsuit on his behalf. We have simply asked the court to review the contract and to provide a declaration of relief that our position is correct pursuant to our contract and federal copyright law and that monies paid by SoundExchange to Glassnote can be retained by Glassnote, in the same way that monies paid by SoundExchange to Donald Glover can be retained by him.
I’d like to point out that in our 11 years of operating we have never been in litigation with an artist.
We are not asking for anything back from Donald Glover, just that we are able to retain the monies that are contractually and legally ours and that have already been paid to us.
Last year, Gambino's team announced a new partnership with RCA. "Being malleable is important to us, and that's what this partnership allows," Fam Rothstein of Glover's Wolf + Rothstein said at the time.
Next up for Gambino is a "This Is America"–promoting tour for which I hope you already have tickets.