Artist News Business News Labels & Publishers Legal Top Stories

Megan Thee Stallion ramps up label dispute, demands a million dollars in damages

By | Published on Tuesday 23 August 2022

Megan Thee Stallion

Following the recent release of her new album ‘Traumazine’, Megan Thee Stallion has ramped up her ongoing legal battle with her label 1501 Certified Entertainment, now seeking a million dollars in damages as well as court confirmation that she has fulfilled her obligations under her current record deal. She also accuses 1501 of leaking that new album and forcing her to fast track its release.

The rapper, real name Megan Pete, has been involved in a legal back and forth with her label for a couple of years now. She initially claimed that her 2018 contract with 1501 – an independent label owned by former baseball player Carl Crawford – was entirely one-sided and exploited her ignorance of music industry norms. It was a wide-ranging deal that gave the label an interest not only in her recordings, but also her publishing, merchandise and live activity.

Pete’s original lawsuit against 1501 was dismissed earlier this year, seemingly after certain elements of that 2018 contract were revised, and with some specific disputes over the label allegedly blocking the release of certain tracks successfully overcome.

But then a new lawsuit was filed. Despite her original deal having been revised, Pete was still obliged to deliver two more albums to the label. Keen to get that commitment out of the way as soon as possible, the rapper reckoned that last year’s ‘Something For Thee Hotties’ – a collection of YouTube freestyles and tracks from her archives – should count as the first of those albums, with this month’s ‘Traumazine’ then fulfilling her obligations to the label.

However, 1501 argues that ‘Something For Thee Hotties’ – as basically a compilation – does not qualify as an album under Pete’s record contract, so even if it accepts ‘Traumazine’ as a proper album release, it is still due another record.

Pete amended her most recent lawsuit last week to restate her position that ‘Something For Thee Hotties’ should qualify as an album, while adding that – with ‘Traumazine’ now released – the court should confirm that she has fulfilled the requirements of her revised record deal and is now free to walk away from the label.

None of which is surprising, given the rapper’s previous position on all this. However, according to Rolling Stone, the new version of her lawsuit also seeks at least a million in damages, mainly based on the allegations that the label has failed to pay over her share of recording revenues, and that it has been recouping excessive marketing costs from her cut of the cash.

And then, for good measure, Pete also claims that 1501 was likely behind pre-release leaks of ‘Traumazine’. That leak forced her to bring forward the release of the new album, the lawsuit says, plus she has now been “forced to hire forensic investigators to try to determine the source of the leaks”.

A legal rep for the label – Steven Zager – strongly denies those allegations, telling Rolling Stone: “There’s not a shred of evidence that we leaked ‘Traumazine’. I don’t even think my guys would know how to leak it. Nor can I think of a motive. We participate with Megan in the profits. Why would we want to do that? It’s coming completely out of left field”.

Regarding the other parts of the ongoing dispute, Zager says that 1501 is still deciding whether ‘Traumazine’ qualifies as one of the two albums Pete is required to deliver, but maintains that ‘Something For Thee Hotties’ definitely does not.

The million dollar damages claim, meanwhile, has only been added for dramatic effect, the 1501 lawyer reckons. And – according to the label – it’s the one currently out of pocket, because it’s still owed monies from its share of merchandise and live revenue stemming from that original deal.

And so the dispute continues.