×

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

  • Tekashi 6ix9ineTekashi 6ix9ine out and about,

    Tekashi 6ix9ine Could Be Released From Prison Today

    Rapper Daniel “Tekashi 6ix9ine” Hernandez could be released from prison as early as Wednesday afternoon, according to reports in XXL and Rolling Stone. Like several other celebrities, his attorney, Lance Lazzaro, has filed a motion to have him released early due to the spread of coronavirus through the prison system. However, unlike Bill Cosby and [...]

  • John Mayer in concert at Material

    John Mayer's 'Drone Shot of My Yacht' Becomes the Earworm of the Moment (Listen)

    Songwriters are straining to meet the moment as the coronavirus crisis intensifies — and John Mayer has definitely met this one with a new song, “Drone Shot of My Yacht,” that captures all the angst felt by billionaires as they wait out the pandemic, adrift on the high seas. Although it doesn’t mention anyone by [...]

  • Taylor SwiftMTV Video Music Awards, Arrivals,

    Taylor Swift Helps Keep a Nashville Indie Record Store Afloat During Closure

    Taylor Swift hasn’t been spotted casually browsing in record stores over the years quite as often as LP shop-aholic Elton John, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have an equal interest in keeping them open and thriving. Grimey’s, an independent store in her hometown of Nashville, confirmed Thursday that Swift had quietly made a contribution [...]

  • Coronavirus Hollywood Jobs

    An Exhaustive Guide to Coronavirus-Relief Resources for the Music Community

    As the coronavirus pandemic has brought much of the music industry — and most industries — to a standstill, MusiCares has emerged as the leading relief resource for the untold thousands of music professionals impacted by the crisis. However, obviously it can’t handle everyone, and a large number of resources are available for music professionals [...]

  • Justin Bieber Changes album cover

    Justin Bieber Postpones All 2020 Tour Dates Due to Coronavirus Crisis

    Justin Bieber’s 2020 Changes tour has been postponed due to the growing coronavirus crisis. The 45-date stadium and arena trek was due to kick off on May 14 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle and follow Bieber’s first album in nearly five years, released on Feb. 14, and his first tour in nearly three. It is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content