Several years ago, Aspire Music Group filed a lawsuit against Cash Money Records and Universal Music Group (UMG).
The first label claimed it had signed Drake to a contract in 2008. Aspire was co-founded by Cortez Bryant, who once served as Lil Wayne’s manager.
After signing the Canadian rapper, Bryant entered into an agreement with Young Money Entertainment – a joint venture between Cash Money and Lil Wayne – to provide Drake’s services. Under the agreement, Aspire would receive a third of the net profits from Drake’s first six albums. The music label would also retain one-third control over associated copyrights.
According to Aspire, Cash Money cheated the label out of its rightful share. Cash Money created fake statements, minimizing and outright denying the profits earned from the recordings. In addition, monthly accounting remained irregular at best and largely erroneous. Then, the label pocketed the money after ignoring repeated requests from Aspire to review Cash Money’s records. Bryant’s label also accused Universal Music Group (UMG), stating Cash Money served as a sock puppet of the major label.
Siding with Aspire Music Group, a New York Supreme Court judge dismissed Young Money’s counterclaim in February.
Cash Money and Lil Wayne’s joint venture had claimed it remained entitled to profits from Drake’s music in Canada.
Judge Barry Ostrager said Aspire had adequately alleged Universal is the “alter ego of Cash Money.” The music group holds the exclusive rights to the distribution of Drake’s recordings, through, and including his sixth studio album, in all territories globally except for Canada.
“The complaint essentially alleges that Universal took advantage of Cash Money’s cash flow problems by helping to satisfy millions of dollars of Cash Money’s debts in exchange for control of Cash Money, and then, through such control, paid itself higher distribution fees, thereby reducing the net profits that plaintiff was entitled to receive under the Aspire/YME Agreement.”
Now, after years of multiple lawsuit reversals, the complex case has finally reached an end.
Reaching an undramatic conclusion.
In the voluntary stipulation of discontinuance with prejudice filed at the New York Supreme Court, Cash Money Records has finally settled with Aspire Music Group.
Terms of the settlement remain undisclosed. The move also comes six years after Cash Money allegedly signed a direct exclusive artist agreement with Drake. Lambasting the label, Bryant’s label said Cash Money had wanted to keep the money altogether.
Featured image by The Come Up Show (CC by 2.0).