Aspire Music Group—which was co-founded by Lil Wayne’s former manager Cortez Bryant—brought a lawsuit against Cash Money Records and UMG Recordings, claiming that both are “cheating a deal that entitled Aspire to one-third of net profits from Drake's first six solo albums,” per THR.
Previously, last July, New York Supreme Court Judge Barry Ostrager permitted the lawsuit to advance. He dismissed the argument that Aspire had waited too long to fight against accounting statements.
But Ostrager ultimately rejected the idea that Universal could be held accountable for a lawful violation as an “alter ego” of Cash Money.
“Even assuming Universal was an ‘equitable owner’ of Cash Money, the complaint fails to allege that Universal's domination of Cash Money was used to commit a wrong against plaintiff,” the appellate opinion said. “The complaint essentially alleges that Universal took advantage of Cash Money's cash flow problems by helping to satisfy millions of dollars of Cash Money's debts in exchange for control of Cash Money, and then, through such control, paid itself higher distribution fees, thereby reducing the net profits that plaintiff was entitled to receive under the Aspire/YME Agreement.”
The panel of appellate justices added, “These allegations describe legitimate business conduct; there is no indication that Universal engaged in this conduct for the purpose of harming plaintiff.”
While Aspire’s complaint against Universal failed, Drake’s first label could implore Ostrager to give them the chance to outline Universal’s control over Cash Money. Even if Universal avoids court, Cash Money could be still in breach of contract.