The Lil Wayne-Cash Money-Universal saga just got messier.
Lil Wayne has, through his attorneys, filed a federal lawsuit in California against Universal Music Group for the royalties it owes relating to profits from Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga.
Wayne is claiming that he been shorted millions from his work discovering and nurturing the multi platinum artists, with Universal Music Group paying itself instead of shelling out royalties. According to him, Universal has diverted tens of millions of dollars of his profits to repay itself for the $100 million it advanced to Cash Money Records.
According to the complaint, Young Money Label is a joint venture with Universal’s Cash Money Records designed to manufacture, distribute, promote and exploit performances of new recording artists discovered by Carter and signed to the label.
“With Universal’s knowledge of Lil Wayne’s rights to partial ownership and profits from those artists, Universal and Cash Money entered into a series of agreements which, among other things, diverted Lil Wayne’s substantial profits to repay debts of Cash Money,” states the complaint. “As a result, 100% of the profits that should have been paid to Lil Wayne as a result of his ownership of Drake, Nicki Minaj and Tyga records have been seized by Universal to repay debts that were neither incurred by nor were the obligations of Lil Wayne.”
Lil Wayne also claims their 2003 agreement states the label’s profits “would be divided 51% – 49% between Cash Money and Carter, and ownership of all the Young Money Label property, (e.g., master recordings, copyrights, intellectual property, good will) similarly would be owned 51% – 49% between Cash Money and Carter, respectively.”
But the term expired June 4, 2015, which put confusion around release of Drake’s upcoming album Views From The 6.
SoundExchange, the nonprofit organisation that collects and distributes digital performance royalties on behalf of copyright owners, is also named as a defendant in the suit. Lil Wayne is asking for $40 million in damages and disgorged profits and a “judgment declaring the parties’ respective rights with regard to Plaintiffs’ share of label performance royalties.”
This case follows the $51 million lawsuit Wayne filed against Cash Money last year, which is currently pending in Louisiana federal court.