ASCAP Names Dr. Luke ‘Songwriter of the Year’ Amidst Decade-Long Legal Battle with Kesha


Photo Credit: Charles Lee / CC by 4.0

ASCAP has named Dr. Luke Songwriter of the Year at the 40th annual Pop Awards despite his ongoing decade-long legal battle with Kesha.

Lukasz Gottwald, better known as Dr. Luke, has been named Songwriter of the Year for the third time in that category at the 40th annual ASCAP Pop Awards. The producer took home the award for his hit song contributions over the past year, including Doja Cat’s “Need to Know,” Latto’s “Big Energy,” and Nicki Minaj’s “Super Freaky Girl.”

According to a release from ASCAP, Dr. Luke’s win is based on a mathematical formula derived from the performance rights organization’s metric of “the total number of a writer’s shares in ASCAP’s Pop Music Award-winning songs multiplied by the winning songs’ impressions, which are calculated based on Luminate data from radio and streaming.”

However, Dr. Luke’s win is controversial due to sexual assault allegations and a nearly decade-long legal battle with singer Kesha. This year marks his first Songwriter of the Year win since that scandal began in 2014. The producer is currently countersuing Kesha for defamation, with their latest trial set for July 26 in New York.

Previously, Dr. Luke won the award in 2010 and 2011. He is tied with Lionel Richie for three wins, but Diane Warren and Max Martin have them beaten with five and eleven wins, respectively. Other wins at the 2023 ASCAP Pop Awards include The Kid LAROI and Justin Bieber’s “Stay,” which took home the Song of the Year Award, while Sony Music Publishing took home the Publisher of the Year Award.

Meanwhile, Kesha’s latest record, Gag Order, was released on Friday (May 19) — her latest endeavor to be released under Dr. Luke’s Kemosabe Records.

“I feel as if there has been an implied gag order for a very long time now,” the singer said. “With my ongoing litigation hanging over my head, I have not been able to speak freely because I know everything I say is scrutinized.”