Music News

Is Dr Luke Gone from Sony? Maybe…Maybe Not

It looks like Dr. Luke and Sony Music are no longer a musical power couple.

Who saw this coming? Anyone?

But according to Variety and other publications, existing and underway projects in which Dr. Luke is involved for Sony are still moving forward.

The long and short of the Dr. Luke/Kesha saga is this: She accused him of physically and emotionally abusing her, including sexual assault; he sued her and her mom for defamation; her requests for injunctions to allow her to record under a different label were denied by a judge in New York. (It’s really ugly.)

Here’s what we know now:

Around 4pm EST on Tuesday, April 25, word trickled out that Dr. Luke was no longer affiliated with Kemosabe Records, his imprint on Sony.

The Hollywood Reporter, among other publications, notes that Kesha filed a notice of appeal in California last week on a rejected effort to impose a seven-year limit on personal contracts, a new way to try and get out of her recording deal with Kemosabe and Sony.

“Now, Dr. Luke’s relationship with Sony is under a microscope and, according to one source, the two sides are in the midst of negotiating a split. Another insider pushed back on the notion of a divorce,” Eriq Gardner writes for THR. “But according to court papers, he is no longer the CEO of Kemosabe Reocrds and the company asserts he no longer has authority to act on its behalf. A page devoted to Dr. Luke on Sony Music’s website has also been taken down.”

That, and the denial from both Dr. Luke and Sony’s representatives to comment, certainly doesn’t build strength or indicate this is a good time in that relationship.

A Sony Music source confirmed to Variety’s Shirley Halperin that the relationship is “winding down,” adding, “Sony still has a relationship with Dr. Luke,” because production contracts are still in operation. When those contracts are completed, fulfilled or otherwise over, he’s done with the label. Halperin notes that he founded the label in 2011 and his deal to run the label ended at the end of March, confirmed by court documents examined on Tuesday.

But back at THR, Gardner advises a bit of patience before throwing Kesha a victory parade. There are two issues on the horizon that need to be addressed or settled:

“First, in her own court papers, she previously cited reports that Sony’s deal with Dr. Luke was imminently about to end and warned the judge that she’d no longer have Sony as a go-between, making her situation worse,” he writes. “Second, Dr. Luke’s defamation claims against her are still pending, and in advance of the trial, his attorneys have been collecting evidence about how his career has suffered as a result of her rape allegations. Certainly, the culmination of Dr. Luke’s deal with Sony will be spotlighted as the case moves forward.”


The saga continues…

Amber Healy

I write about music policy and lawsuits because they're endlessly fascinating.

Amber Healy has 517 posts and counting. See all posts by Amber Healy

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