Jay-Z Awarded $4.5 Million In Unpaid Royalties After Cologne Deal Goes Sideways

Jay-Z Team ROC
  • Save

Jay-Z Team ROC
  • Save
Photo Credit: The Come Up Show / CC by 2.0

Back in November of 2021, Jay-Z emerged victorious in a nearly $68 million lawsuit centering on a cologne deal turned sour. Now, a New York federal court has awarded the 52-year-old about $4.5 million in unpaid royalties from the same agreement.

A New York appellate court just recently ruled that Jay-Z is entitled to a $4.5 million payment under the terms of his original agreement with Parlux Fragrances. The parties previously inked a deal to create a fragrance line called Gold Jay-Z, but the products’ commercial performance faltered following a post-release sales surge.

Parlux claimed in the aforementioned $68 million lawsuit that Gold Jay-Z’s underwhelming showing had resulted from the namesake rapper and entrepreneur’s failure to honor promotional obligations. Jay-Z, for his part, fired back with a firmly worded countersuit, maintaining that he was owed millions in unpaid royalties from the Gold products, many of which remain available to purchase on resale websites.

In addition to rejecting Parlux’s complaint against Jay-Z, as noted at the outset, a jury in November of 2021 tossed the “Song Cry” artist’s unpaid-royalties claim. And prior to the trial, a lower court had technically ruled against the owed-payment allegations from Jay-Z and his team.

On the latter front, it bears elaborating that the court had essentially “granted them summary judgment” for the unpaid royalties, determining that the corresponding payments had ceased in April of 2015 despite Gold Jay-Z’s being marketed and sold until at least May of 2017.

However, this same court opted not to approve the sought damages because Parlux “could be entitled to a setoff against the amount they owed defendants in royalties” if the jury ruled in their favor at trial, according to the appellate court’s decision.

But the appellate court emphasized in its unanimous verdict that the “Defendants are correct that they are entitled to summary judgment on that aspect of their counterclaim premised on plaintiffs’ failure to pay royalties.”

“The record is clear: Parlux sold licensed products after July 31, 2015, but failed to pay royalties on those sales,” the decision reads. “Plaintiffs’ contention that no judgment on the royalties counterclaim is warranted because defendants may have some liability to plaintiffs on their claims in this action is without merit.”

At the time of this piece’s writing, Jay-Z didn’t look to have addressed the court’s approval of his $4.5 million unpaid-royalties claim on social media. Last week, the New York City native teamed up with Fanatics, Meek Mill, Lil Baby, and others to purchase sports merchandiser Mitchell & Ness.