×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Estate of Pop Star Rick Nelson Slams Sony With Class Action Lawsuit

The filing alleges improper withholding of international streaming royalties.

The estate of 1950s teen idol Rick Nelson hit Sony Music Entertainment with a class action lawsuit on Tuesday, alleging that it improperly withholds a portion of artists’ royalties from international streaming revenue.

Rick Nelson LLC filed the complaint in U.S. District Court in New York. The complaint alleges that Sony charges itself intercompany fees of up to 68% on foreign streaming revenues, diminishing the pot of money available to artists.

The suit seeks to represent hundreds or thousands of Sony artists who are entitled to foreign streaming revenues. The suit alleges that Sony collects overseas revenue through its wholly owned foreign affiliates, and then assesses an intercompany charge before distributing royalties to artists. The suit alleges that this violates the terms of Nelson’s contract, and those signed with other artists.

Sony Music declined to comment on the suit.

Nelson, who died in 1985 at age 45, rose to fame as a child actor, starring alongside his real-life parents on “The Adventure of Ozzy and Harriet” on TV and radio in the late 1940s and 1950s. “Ricky” turned his attention mostly to music after topping the charts in 1958 with “Poor Little Fool.” His other smashes included “Travelin’ Man,” “Hello Mary Lou” and the appropriately titled “Teen Age Idol” before his recording career faded in the mid-’60s. He had a comeback in 1972 with the top 10 hit “Garden Party,” a wry song written about his experience rebranding himself as a more mature country-rocker.

It was in the last part of his career that Nelson recorded for Epic, which is now controlled by Sony; most of his early hits were with the Imperial or Decca labels and remain with the Universal Music Group.

More Music

  • Fleetwood Mac Reveal Rescheduled Tour Dates

    Fleetwood Mac Reveal Rescheduled Tour Dates

    Fleetwood Mac, who cancelled the last few dates of their North American tour earlier this month while singer Steve Nicks recovered from the flu, have announced rescheduled dates for the tour. The group, with touring singer/guitarist Neil Finn and guitarist Mike Campbell in place of Lindsey Buckingham, will finish the tour in the fall after [...]

  • Paradigm Names Marty Diamond Head of

    Paradigm Names Marty Diamond Head of Global Music

    Paradigm Talent Agency has named Marty Diamond the Head of Global Music, leading the agency’s representation artists worldwide, the company announced today. His personal client roster includes Ed Sheeran, Coldplay, Halsey, Janelle Monáe, Sigur Rós, Sara Bareilles, Liam Gallagher, Sia, Lorde, Alessia Cara, Bastille, Snow Patrol, Jess Glynne and Vance Joy. Diamond will head Paradigm’s [...]

  • Madonna Madame X

    Madonna Reveals Collaborators, Tracklist, Release Date for 'Madame X' Album

    Madonna has posted a lot of material on social media positioning the concept of her new album, “Madame X,” but until “Medellin,” the first single from the album, dropped today, there was precious little information about the album itself. We knew she’d worked with “Medellin” collaborator Maluma, longtime producers Mirwais and Mike Dean… and that’s [...]

  • Anne del Castillo Named NYC's Commissioner

    Anne del Castillo Named New York City's Commissioner of Media and Entertainment

    The film and TV industries in New York City have a new boss: Anne del Castillo, who has been tapped by Mayor Bill de Blasio to serve as commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Del Castillo had served as general counsel and chief operating officer of MOME since 2015. She succeeds Julie [...]

  • Warner/Chappell Music Names Ryan Press President

    Warner/Chappell Music Names Ryan Press President of A&R for the U.S.

    Warner/Chappell Music has announced the promotion of Ryan Press to president of A&R, U.S. Press, who joined the publisher in 2009, has worked closely with an array of acclaimed songwriters and producers, including Rihanna, Rae Sremmurd, DJ Khaled, Wiz Khalifa, Meek Mill, T-Minus, Tayla Parx, Gucci Mane, Mike Elizondo, Aloe Blacc, The-Dream, Priscilla Renea, Lil [...]

  • Madonna

    Single Review: Madonna’s ‘Medellin’

    While a song that begins with a cha-cha count-in and the lyric “I took a pill” sounds like it should be a dancefloor rager, it’s actually the unexpectedly low-key return of Madonna, who today dropped “Medellin,” the first single from her forthcoming album “Madame X.” A collaboration with Colombian singer Maluma — himself a native [...]

  • Beyonce Lemonade HBO

    Beyonce to Release Audio of 'Lemonade' Film Across All Music Streaming Platforms (EXCLUSIVE)

    Beyoncé is offering up some more “Lemonade.” Variety can exclusively reveal that the audio of Beyoncé’s 65-minute “Lemonade” film will drop across all music streaming services on Tuesday, April 23. The drop marks the third anniversary of the film’s debut on HBO. It’s also the first time all of Bey’s catalog is available for streaming. [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content