A lot of people have been blaming Sony for the ongoing Dr. Luke-Kesha problem. For what it’s worth, Sony doesn’t want any part of it. I’m not entirely clear on the specific legal situation, but it seems that Sony hosts Dr. Luke’s label Kemosabe Records, and Dr. Luke rents himself out as a producer to Sony-signed artists, or artists signed at other labels. Kesha is not signed with Sony, she’s signed with Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records, so even if Sony wanted to let her out of her contract, I’m not entirely sure Sony would have any legal standing to do so. But this whole situation has left Sony with a PR nightmare on their hands, and shockingly, they are not dumping the blame on Kesha. Sony is tired of Dr. Luke, and The Wrap says Sony is looking to cut their ties with him.
Sony Music is expected to end its working relationship with controversial producer Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald a year ahead of his contract’s expiration, knowledgeable individuals have told TheWrap. The output deal has become a public relations headache for the company since pop star Kesha’s sexual abuse allegations against Gottwald have resulted in a nasty court battle — and a groundswell of support for the singer from influential fellow artists like Adele, Lady Gaga and Kelly Clarkson.
Kesha, signed to Gottwald’s Kemosabe Records imprint at Sony, filed suit in 2014 against both the producer and Sony to exit her own deal. The New York State Supreme Court has thus far sided with Sony given a lack of evidence to support the abuse claims, but the public relations nightmare has internally been deemed not worth the hassle, the insiders said.
“There is no contest. Kesha has no case in regards to her contract but they can’t afford the Adeles of the world out in the streets calling the label unsupportive,” one individual familiar with upper management’s thinking told TheWrap. “The fact that this hasn’t already been taken care of with Luke is confusing, especially for people in the building.”
Gottwald, who has vehemently denied the claims, signed a five-year agreement in late 2011 that comes up in early 2017, two individuals familiar his contract said. It’s currently unknown how Sony intends to free itself from the relationship, a decision that would fall on CEO Doug Morris and his boss, Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton. Any unilateral dissolution of the contract would be a direct breach, so a negotiated exit would be most likely to save face on both sides.
“Somebody has been convicted via Twitter,” a second individual close to the decision said of Luke and the outcry over unsubstantiated accusations. “No court has convicted this person, so there may not be any legal basis to terminate an agreement. It would have to be mutual.”
You can read more here at The Wrap. Dr. Luke has already run to various media outlets to say that The Wrap’s story is crap. His lawyer says: “This is not true. Luke has an excellent relationship with Sony. His representatives are in regular contact with executives at the highest levels at Sony and this has never come up.” But Sony hasn’t confirmed or denied the Wrap’s story, and honestly, it seems like something the Sony PR people would slide over to an outlet like the Wrap. Even if Sony doesn’t drop the hammer on Dr. Luke, once his existing contract is done, that’s it for him. Hopefully.
Photos courtesy of Getty.