Jay-Z’s Roc Nation sues Rita Ora for $2.4 million for breach of contract


Here are some photos of Rita Ora at Paris Fashion Week last week. I’ve never really been interested in Rita Ora one way or the other – she seems to have fashioned herself as some kind of Rihanna/Beyonce hybrid and while she’s got a decent voice, most of her career is hype. She’s famous for being famous more than famous for having a great music career.

Anyway, back in December, Ora filed a complaint against her label, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation. Jay-Z believed in Ora at one point, and he was often credited for creating her Rihanna/Bey look. He signed Rita to a five-album contract in 2008. Her complaint was that Jay-Z and Roc Nation didn’t look after her career properly, that they were too focused on their expansion into athlete-representation, and that a “revolving door of executives” were not focused on nurturing her career with the same energy. The point of her complaint seemed like she wanted to be let out of her contract. Maybe. Well, that’s what’s going to happen now. Because Roc Nation has filed a lawsuit against Ora.

Jay Z‘s music label is suing his former protégé Rita Ora for breaking her recording contract and failing to deliver promised albums. The $2.4 million Manhattan civil suit filed by Roc Nation comes just six weeks after Ora sued the label in California, claiming record execs pushed her aside when they started representing professional athletes.

In the new suit, Roc Nation counters that it’s spent over $2 million developing and marketing the British pop singer’s still-unreleased second album. The label says the British ”X Factor” judge was supposed to deliver a total of five albums when she signed with Roc Nation in 2008, but has only put out one.

Roc Nation says it scooped up Ora, 25, when she was an “unknown singer” and “has tirelessly promoted [her] career, investing millions of dollars in marketing, recording and other costs, which was instrumental in guiding Ms. Ora to her current level of success and fame.”

The Los Angeles suit is still pending. Roc Nation says it filed the countersuit in Manhattan because Ora’s contact specifies that any litigation between the parties must take place in New York. Ora’s attorney, Howard King, said, “Jay Z has personally and graciously promised Rita complete freedom from Roc Nation, the details of which are now being finalized. We believe that Roc Nation’s distributor, Sony Music, has required Roc Nation to file this action to preserve whatever rights Sony might have pending resolution.”

[From Page Six]

Yes, I believe these complaints and lawsuits are about divorcing Rita and Roc Nation. But none of it looks good for Rita. I don’t think I realized that she’s only put out one album in seven years. But I did realize that someone was paying to hype this woman, and it’s good to see confirmation of that. It costs $2 million to make Rita Ora into someone famous for being famous. There you go. And after Roc Nation lets Rita out of her contract, will any other label sign her?


Photos courtesy of WENN, Getty & Fame/Flynet.

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

36 Responses to “Jay-Z’s Roc Nation sues Rita Ora for $2.4 million for breach of contract”

Comments are Closed

We close comments on older posts to fight comment spam.

  1. QQ says:

    Buh Bye Rita, we hardly knew ye or could get to care

  2. Leah says:

    Calvin Harris is also signed with Roc, the moment Calvin blocked Ritas album ( that he had written) and roc didn’t do anything the writing was on the wall.

    On top of that, Jay z recently signed british singer Emeli Sande, who too be fair is much more talented and unique.

    • kri says:

      Emeli Sande?! That is awesome news! Oh, Rita, please pack your things and leave your ROC ID badge with Security.

      • Naya says:

        Yesssss. Yes. Yes. I was just watching the Clown video the other day and moaning the fact that she doesnt have Adeles career. Her voice has more range and her song writing is so much more interesting. Save the magic on Emile, Jay.

    • V4Real says:

      I love Emelie Sande. I’ve mentioned her several times on this site. I wish she had the career Adele has because I think her music is so much better than Adele’s.

      And cue the why you have to compare complaints in 3, 2, 1,

      • Cynthia says:

        Totally agree. Honestly Emeli, Lianne La Havas and Laura Mvula should have the same career.

      • Diana says:

        V4Real , totally agree about Emeli Sandé.
        Edit: yes Laura Mvula is amazing!!!

      • I Choose Me says:

        Yes!! I mean I love Adele I do but there are other artists out there as good or better with yes, far superior writing skills. And hell yeah, Laura Mvula is the Sh*t. First saw her on Graham Norton and have been hooked on her music ever since.

    • MP says:

      I guess this means Calvin pretty much single handedly killed her career. At least at Roc. This is why you should not mix business with pleasure. I hope Rita gets a new contract since she can actually sing.

      • Bridget says:

        Whomever was managing her utterly failed to do their job with that one. It still astounds me that they recorded that material and her team didn’t do their due diligence to make sure that Ora legally had the rights to release those songs. Was that on Roc Nation?

  3. ReineDidon says:

    It says a lot about her and about the music industry when we can’t get past a day without seeing her all over gossip and fashion media. And she’s only had 1 album 7 years ago!! I mean, can we focus on actual talent or people we want to care about ?!

    • Naya says:

      The industry really is all about marketing, even for talented acts. Most would agree that Nic Jonas is talented but the Roc Nation push he has had recently is what is transforming him into adult pop star. Lots of talent falls on the wayside because it isnt being sold correctly.

      That said, I dont know what Rita is complaining about, her team did their job. They’ve clearly bought her coverage over the years on the strength of just one album. Or does she think her judging stint on X factor was legitimately earned or that Daily Mail writes about her because she is such a fascinating subject?

  4. rosie says:

    I think it will all work out for Rita. She is immensely talented. I love her new song with Sigma coming home. I have always liked her but after watching her on the UK X factor, I have become a fan. She seems really lovely and kind girl.

  5. Hannah says:

    she seems to piss a lot of powerful people in the music industry off. Doesn’t seem very smart.

    • The Eternal Side-Eye says:

      Not at all. I think she will go down as one of those singers who could have been, but never was. “Hey remember that one chick, what was her name…Rita something?”

  6. AmandaPanda says:

    Universal will sign her, it just won’t be a particularly rich deal. Which won’t bother her as she can make serious bank from all the other stuff she does. She has enough brand value that she’ll still be profitable for a label (now that roc has put in all the hard yards).

  7. Tifygodess24 says:

    I actually like her voice compared to some of the other singers out there. I have a feeling both parties are to blame here not just one or the other. Nothing is ever that cut and dry.

  8. Mimz says:

    I know that people love to say they don’t “get” Rita, and are tired of seeing her everywhere (but aren’t so many many other people all over the media?), but to say that this was fair…?
    I feel for her. You see people like JoJo, who is immensely talented (more than Ora), and was stuck in a contract for 7 years, and couldn’t release anything until it was done. It’s easy to say oh Rita didn’t deliver but how do we know? If Calvin and her are from the same label, shouldn’t they have mediated this mess?
    Is it fair to say they invested the same amount of money, attention and time to Rita’s career? TBH when Roc signed her, it seemed half-assed and still does to this day. Many artists that are less known, like Bridget Kelly, Melanie Fiona, who are very, VERY talented have left Roc Nation and complained of the same lack of interest. I see a pattern. The only reason they are suing Rita is because of the media coverage. For the other girls, they left them hanging dry for years without a follow up to their first albums.

    So I don’t know if this is all on Rita. I think Roc is quick to get the big talents but don’t really know what to do with them.

    • Hannah says:

      She’s managed by roc, but she’s not on their label. She’s on the Colombia label. Jay z got her that record deal.
      She can sing but her music isn’t very good in my opinion. There’s something generic about her so she doesn’t stand out. I think that’s why she never made it big. It’s not like her music is too experimental, it’s very generic pop.

      • Holmes says:

        (this is in reply to your second comment, which I can’t reply to directly for some reason) Then I guess Roc Nation failed, because still no one in the US knows who she is. Out of curiosity, I just asked two coworkers if they liked Rita Ora. Got a blank stare and a “who?” in response. Of course, we don’t represent the entire country, but I’ve never even heard her mentioned outside of this site.

        And before anyone accuses me of being an ignorant American who can’t see past my own nose: yes, I am aware that there is a world outside the US, and that Rita is more popular in some other countries. I am responding to a comment regarding her popularity in the US specifically, not the world at large.

    • Sisi says:

      I recall that even during one of Rihanna’s megayears there were stories about how Riri’s career was a financial mess caused by the management and that there was hardly any money left.

      Roc definitely has a reputation, and it ain’t a good one

      • Hannah says:

        It goes both ways if it wasn’t for roc nobody in America would know her. They definetly promoted her to high heavens and secured her some very lucrative deals. They could have done a better job with the musical side of things. But since she’s not a songwriter she’s always going to rely on being given the right songs. Riri, Katy, Taylor have first pick. Rita had her chance with a proven songwriter like Calvin but she messed that up. Blame is on both sides probably.

      • Naya says:

        Rihannas cash situation had to do with her accountant. BBHMM video is actually her revenge fantasy. Rihanna is extremely vocal about her loyalty to Roc Nation and she still brands her videos and performances with the diamond sign. I doubt that would be the case if the cash disappearance was Roc related.

  9. Cynthia says:

    From the start Jay-Z tried to market her like the next Rihanna with the same style and music but it backfired, plus the whole situation with Petty Harris didn’t help. I agree that she has a decent voice so she’s going to be ok and find another contract soon.

    • Naya says:

      They tried to brand her as a medium between conventional urban pop star (Beyonce) and alternative urban pop star (Rihanna). It actually did work, if you look at how her singles have charted. She just didnt follow through. Rihanna had 7 albums in her first 7 years. Beyonce had a mega tour every year until she started trying for a child. Rita has spent her foundational years in tabloids for cheating on whoever she is currently dating. Plus, she made enemies with Calvin, a much bigger asset on the label. Its on her. Shes had a bigger head start than 99 percent of other artists get.

  10. The Eternal Side-Eye says:

    Well if you believe the talk mixing business with pleasure was her downfall.

    Many of the singers today aren’t songwriters and don’t have control of their message or look. Still, they keep it semi-professional and work with the people who do deliver that message for them. Rita COULD have had success if Calvin had managed to deliver her album. He has success in music as well as songwriting and at the time a lot of the hits on the radio were by or from him.

    But rumors, rumors Calvin yanked the album and Rita had absolutely nothing without him. In spite of all her promises it seemed pretty clear that she couldn’t come up with new songs and as others have said she’s already pretty generic even with good music. I think ROC is just tired of funneling money into a black hole.

  11. Mar says:

    The only reason Jay signed her was because Rhianna was acting up. He thought he could create another huge star but this chic is too thirsty and has nothing unique to offer. All of her songs are also quite forgettable

  12. Mirage says:

    I think Rita is more of a star in the UK.
    I like her as an artist. I’ve seen her life and she has a great energy and connection with a crowd.

  13. Breakfast Margaritas says:

    Jay Z and Roc Nation repped this girl so hard as the 2nd coming of RiRi that initially nobody knew she wasn’t Black or wasn’t biracial either. I blame Jay Z for not developing Rita as an artist with her own sound, message, and image. I hope she can bounce back with her own look and sound.

  14. love scandal says:

    Kylie Minouge went to ROC Nation, she has since left, her album was absolutely terrible. Whether you love or hate Minougue she is a seasoned, experienced professional, been in the business over 25 years.
    Kylie said ROC Nation did not get her as an artist, I wholeheartedly agree. The best way I can put it is, they attempted to slut her up. That is not her USP at all. She is gay disco all the way yet appeals to housewives & kids & as long as she doesn’t speak, most hetero men’s sexual fantasy, remaining non threatening to wives & girlfriends.
    I don’t think Jay-Z should sign essentially British artists or he should hire really expirenced british pple in the record industry, to oversee British artists then tinker with the end product for the American market. – sound & vision.
    We speak the same language us Brits & Americans, but what sells in each country is entirely different, I imagine it’s the same for what sells in Aussie market.
    Yet again Jay-Z is trying to sell products he doesn’t understand like tidal.

  15. Snugglekitty says:

    I hope it’s onwards and upwards for her.

    For some reason I find her totally likeable and interesting. She is also incredibly beautiful to look at.

    I liked some of her old songs, hated her song with Calvin Harris (he’s a minimally talented creep IMO) and love her recent song with Chris Brown

    Hearing her sing a Beyoncé song accapella I realised how good her voice is, I prefer it to Beys and definitely to Rihanna’s voice.