Sony Music Entertainment’s relationship with producer Dr. Luke is “winding down,” Variety has confirmed, though they’re not out of business with each other yet.
“Sony still has a relationship with Dr. Luke,” says a source, referring to production contracts that remain in place. What is over, however, is Dr. Luke’s role as CEO of the label Kemosabe Records, the label he founded which came under the Sony umbrella in 2011 and expired at the end of March 2017. Court documents revealed as much on April 25.
Dr. Luke (né Lukasz Gottwald) has been embroiled in an ugly legal battle with the artist Kesha since 2014 when the pop star went public with claims that the producer had abused her. That year, Luke filed a complaint against Kesha for failing to work on a third album as required under her contract. Kesha filed a countersuit, seeking to be released from the contract on the basis of allegations that Dr. Luke had raped her and verbally abused her over the course of several years.
In the ensuing court battles since, Kesha has more often come out on the losing side. The same can’t be said for the court of public opinion.
Sony signed Dr. Luke to a five-year contract in late 2011, locking down his production services exclusively. At the time, then-CEO Doug Morris hailed the New York native as “the next Jimmy Iovine.”
Since the public battle with Kesha, Luke’s credit has been seen on few artists’ songs, though it is believed that he, along with his Prescription Songs team of several dozen producers and writers, have continued to work regularly.
Reps for Luke did not immediately respond to request for comment.