Megan Thee Stallion has been in a battle with her record label, 1501 Certified Entertainment, for at least two years now. There has been a lot of back-and-forth, with Megan alleging that they’ve never paid her, that they’ve tried to block release of new music, and that they are currently trying to discount her latest two albums in order to keep her on contract. She also suspects they’re behind the leaks related to her latest album. There are four lawsuits at this point and the latest is centered on her last two albums. Megan says she fulfilled the terms of her contract with the label and is asking for $1 million in relief, but the label says those two albums don’t count as albums, for reasons.
Megan Thee Stallion is attempting to put her professional relationship with 1501 Certified Entertainment behind her.
In court documents obtained by PEOPLE, attorneys for the Grammy Award winner, 27, requested $1 million in relief from the record label after claiming that her last two albums Something for Thee Hotties and Traumazine fulfilled the requirements of her contract, which she’s called “unconscionable.”
Attorneys for Megan (who uses her real name Megan Pete in the filing) did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
“Over the past two (2) years, Pete and 1501 shared a long and tortured history of disputes with each other concerning Pete’s recording agreement, including the unconscionability of the agreement in its original form, as well as disputes concerning the release of Pete’s music,” the complaint reads.
“The two have been able to resolve some of the disputes through the issuance of multiple temporary restraining orders against Defendants from this Court,” the attorneys added. “But a new dispute has arisen requiring further assistance from the Court.”
The filing claims that the record label argued Something for Thee Hotties did not meet the definition of an “album” and “does not satisfy her ‘Minimum Recording Commitment.’ ”
“1501’s new position, taken months after the album’s release, is clearly a ruse in an effort to try to take further advantage of Pete, at great expense and in bad faith,” the complaint continued.
Steven M. Zager, partner at King & Spalding LLP and attorney for 1501, tells PEOPLE that “our belief is she owes us one more album, at least.”
He claims to PEOPLE that Something for Thee Hotties did not meet their criteria of an album, as it featured archival material and spoken word, as well as being released too soon since her previous 2020 debut album Good News.
“We’re evaluating Traumazine,” he says. “But there’s no way Something for Thee Hotties qualifies as an album as that term is defined under her recording commitment in her various contracts with 1501.”
“So, for a host of reasons, we feel that our position is justified and based on the contracts. We’ve tried to work with Megan, and we want Megan to be successful,” Zager adds, noting that allegations they leaked Traumazine are “preposterous.”
Megan previously filed a lawsuit against 1501 in 2020, alleging that the label was preventing her from releasing new music after she tried to renegotiate her contract.
Vulture has a breakdown of the situation between Megan and the label, which is honestly really helpful because there’s a lot going on and it’s hard to follow. Megan has a shady contract with the label: “Under the current contract, Megan receives a 40 percent cut of the recording profits, while 1501 receives the remaining 60 percent, a departure from the industry standard of 50-50 recording profits. This 360 deal also means Megan must cede profits from sectors that labels usually can’t touch, including publishing, touring income, and merchandising.” And apparently, her trying to renegotiate that contract is what led the label to their punitive actions. The main disagreement in this lawsuit is what constitutes an album. Both seem to agree that an album is 45-minutes long, but the label is saying that Megan’s albums in question aren’t the full 45 because of interludes and stuff. Whether or not that’s found to be true, it’s clear the label is treating Megan like crap by taking so much profit from her, blocking her from releasing music, and trying to keep her on contract under a technicality. In her tweets linked in the Vulture article, Megan makes a lot of great points: if she’s supposedly not making them any money why do they want to keep her and where are the statements that show the profits (or lack thereof) and Megan’s payments or (lack thereof). Megan catches a lot of tough breaks and other artists have had problems with this label too. Hopefully things turn out in her favor and she can move to a label that treats their talent appropriately.