Latin music superstar Enrique Iglesias has filed a lawsuit against his former label, accusing them of underpaying streaming royalties. According to the suit, filed in a Miami on Wednesday, Iglesias alleges that UMG paid him a small fraction of his 50% royalty rate due for music streamed online and is owed millions in unpaid royalties.
In a statement to Billboard, Iglesias’ attorney James Sammataro said:
“Few business relationships in the history of the music industry have achieved the commercial success attained by Enrique Iglesias and Universal: 100 million albums sold, billions of streams, and repeat appearances at the top of the Billboard charts. Despite this record-breaking success, Universal has wrongly insisted that artists like Enrique be paid for streams in the same manner as they are paid for physical records despite the fact that none of the attendant costs (production, distribution, inventory, losses) actually exist in the digital world. This is not what Enrique’s contract, or the contracts of many other artists, call for.
“Artists, producers and songwriters should benefit from the reduced costs of streaming, not have their musical works spin unwarranted profits,” the statement continued. “Universal has long ignored, and is now attempting to distort, the clear terms of its artist agreements so that it alone reaps the savings from digital streams. After lengthy efforts to have Universal honor its contractual obligations, Enrique’s team regrettably concluded that he had no choice but to file this lawsuit.”
Iglesias signed with Universal in 1999 and called the label home for 16 years before parting company with UMG in 2015 to sign with Sony in 2015.