Producer and songwriter Matty Spats (real name Matthew Spatola) is suing Jason Derulo (real name Jason Desrouleaux) as well as Sony Music Entertainment for allegedly refusing to give him “the credit and royalties he is due as a co-author” of 2020’s “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat).”
33-year-old Matty Spats just recently submitted the action to a California federal court, and DMN obtained an exclusive copy of the filing. For reference, Derulo incorporated an instrumental work crafted by Auckland-born producer Jawsh 685 (real name Joshua Nanai) into the song at the center of the case.
Following a brief clearance-related showdown, Jawsh 685 was credited as an artist, producer, and songwriter on “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat),” with the parenthetical part of the title being the name of the 20-year-old’s sampled work.
The Kiwi creator also signed with Sony Music’s Columbia Records (Derulo’s then-label), and his collaboration with Derulo has racked up north of one billion streams on Spotify. (Other versions, including a BTS remix, have generated a multitude of additional plays.)
Moving beyond these background details and returning to the complaint, Derulo “personally invited” Matty Spats to his home studio, at which Spats arrived on the evening of April 22nd, 2020, per the legal text.
Spats “had been to Derulo’s home studio about five times prior” to this initial one-on-one collaboration, and “Derulo had requested Spatola’s phone number from a mutual friend for the purpose of collaborating together,” according to the suit.
During the creative session, the two worked into “the early hours” of the morning on “modifying the tempo, modifying the volume of certain instruments, adjusting the rhythm, crafting the instrumental parts for the electric and acoustic guitars and electric bass, and reimagining the overall feel of the song” at hand, the complaint indicates.
Spats is specifically said to have made “from scratch” the instrumental portion of the acoustic section in “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat),” besides having performed “the electric and acoustic guitars and electric bass throughout the sound recording,” the lawsuit shows.
“While writing and performing the acoustic section and bass,” the legal document proceeds, “Spatola followed his own direction, made his own decisions, and ultimately wrote and recorded what he felt was right for the song. Spatola wrote and performed the electric bass and acoustic guitar sections without any instruction from Derulo on the content or feel of the parts.”
Then, April 27th, 2020, saw Derulo ask Spats to return to the studio to finish the track, the suit states, with the alleged understanding being that Derulo and his now-former label would sign “paperwork authorizing its release and fairly compensating” Spats in the event that the song became available to fans.
Although said paperwork doesn’t seem to have been finalized, of course, Spats (who doesn’t claim any lyrical or vocal contributions) was per the complaint paid $2,000 for his time in the studio with Derulo. “The session fees and author’s credit and royalties are not mutually exclusive,” the action maintains.
Thereafter, the plaintiff – who “never was asked to sign a work-for-hire agreement, nor any other paperwork related to” the song – attempted on multiple occasions to secure credits on the commercially successful effort, the text relays. “Over the next two years, Spatola was consistently redirected to other people to contact, told it was being handled in due time, and eventually outright ignored,” the relevant line of the complaint reads.
During 2021 and 2022, following the claimed 2020 collaboration, “Derulo invited Spatola to return to his home studio for other projects,” and Derulo during these alleged sessions didn’t express “his intention to prevent Spatola from rightfully obtaining his authorship credit” on “Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat),” per the suit.
Lastly, the plaintiff in April of this year “received his official copyright registration…for authorship and co-ownership of the sound recording and musical composition of” “Savage Love,” the action states. Later that same month, Spats and the defendants ostensibly inked “a tolling agreement…to engage in good faith settlement negotiations.”
“After the tolling agreement was executed, however, Derulo and Sony failed to negotiate with Spatola,” the suit alleges. “Derulo and Sony claimed to have an agreement, signed by Spatola, which governed the relationship between Spatola and Derulo. After numerous requests from Spatola, Derulo and Sony failed to produce any such agreement.”
Spats is suing for (among other things) songwriting and production credits on the track as well as both retroactive and future royalties. At the time of this writing, neither Sony Music nor Derulo appeared to have commented publicly on the matter.