Enrique Iglesias sues label over streaming revenue

In this 2017 file photo, Enrique Iglesias accepts the artist of the year award at the Latin American Music Awards in Los Angeles. Iglesias is suing Universal Music Group in a dispute over how much he is paid for songs played on streaming music services. (AP)
Updated 24 January 2018
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Enrique Iglesias sues label over streaming revenue

MIAMI: Pop star Enrique Iglesias on Wednesday accused his former label Universal of short-changing artists while benefitting from the soaring growth of streaming as he filed a lawsuit for breach of contract.
“Universal has been systematically underpaying Iglesias’ streaming royalties by calculating those royalties at a small fraction of the contractually required 50 percent royalty rate,” said the lawsuit filed in Miami, where Iglesias lives.
The lawsuit alleged that the 42-year-old heartthrob has lost millions of dollars “even though Iglesias has generated sales of a magnitude rarely attained in the music industry.”
Iglesias said that the Universal Music Group, which is the world’s largest record label conglomerate, refused his requests to inspect its records.
The son of legendary Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias, Enrique has achieved a booming international career with his fusion of ballads, reggaeton and pop as well as his on-stage sex appeal.
He is among the few artists to achieve major hits in both Spanish and English, scoring major success with songs such as “Hero,” “Tonight (I’m Loving You)” and “Be With You.”
The boom in on-demand streaming services such as Spotify has rapidly transformed the music business, bringing solid growth to the industry for the first time in two decades.
Many artists have complained that they see little of the money, although they have generally aimed their fire at streaming companies rather than their own labels.
Universal did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Iglesias bolted Universal in 2015 when he signed to rival Sony Music.
James Sammataro, a lawyer for Iglesias, said that Universal had reaped profits at the expense of artists.
“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,” Sammataro said.
“Artists, producers and songwriters should benefit from the reduced costs of streaming, not have their musical works spin unwarranted profits,” he said.
The complaint relates in part to streams of Iglesias’ 2014 album “Sex and Love” which features the hit “Bailando,” which won three Latin Grammy Awards and was that year’s most played song in both Mexico and Spain.


What We Are Reading Today: Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo

Updated 22 April 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: Air Traffic by Gregory Pardlo

  • The author examines the ramifications of the episode on his family’s legacy, then expands to consider questions of race, addiction and fatherhood

Air Traffic is a courageously written book that chronicles among other things Gregory Pardlo’s complex relationship with members of his family, particularly his father and younger brother.

Gregory Pardlo’s father was one of the thousands of air traffic controllers fired in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan. The author examines the ramifications of the episode on his family’s legacy, then expands to consider questions of race, addiction and fatherhood.

Pardlo “is a talented writer and he examines so many issues in this memoir — race, economics, manhood, addiction, family and sibling relationships, marriage and parenthood,” says a review published in goodreads.com. A review published in The New York Times, Janet Maslin said: “The book is centered on the troubled relationship between the author and his father, although it roams freely in many other directions ... Simple description does not do Pardlo’s story justice; only his own sublime words can achieve that.” The review added: “When Pardlo won the Pulitzer in 2015 for his collection Digest, the citation praised his ‘clear-voiced poems that bring readers the news from 21st-century America, rich with thought, ideas and histories public and private.’ Replace the word ‘poems’ with the word “essays,” and you have an apt description of the second part of Air Traffic.”