Artist News Business News Legal

Ryan Tedder sued in dispute over collaboration with country musician Zac Brown

By | Published on Monday 14 October 2019


Country musician Zac Brown has gone legal in a dispute over a collaboration with OneRepublic’s Ryan Tedder that resulted in a song on the former’s new solo album. Tedder seemingly objects to Brown having released their collaboration, and his people have sought to stop distributor TuneCore from distributing the track to digital platforms.

Brown released his aptly named solo album ‘The Controversy’ last month a week after the latest release from his group the Zac Brown Band. It stands out from Brown’s usual output in that it explores an assortment of different genres, and sees the musician collaborate with various other music makers better known for those other genres.

Last week’s lawsuit explains in some detail Brown’s collaboration with Tedder, which seemingly began in March 2018. Tedder provided Brown with a ‘start’ piece of music which the two men then expanded during a studio session in LA into a song called ‘Nowhere Left To Go’. “It was always understood and agreed”, the lawsuit then states, “that Mr Brown had ultimate and sole control and discretion as to the elements to be included in, and the completion and release of, the ‘Nowhere Left To Go’ recording and musical composition”.

The legal filing then runs through various back and forth communication between Brown and Tedder, which included the latter promising to do more work on the collaboration, but ultimately not having the time. When Brown ultimately sent over a finished version of ‘Nowhere Left To Go’, Tedder then said he didn’t realise his collaborator planned to complete the work, and that he’d now promised the same ‘start’ to Diplo.

Communication then began between the two musician’s managers. Tedder’s manager asked Brown’s manager if they could hold off releasing ‘Nowhere Left To Go’ until after Diplo had released his track using the same ‘start’, which was due to be unleashed in August. As Brown wasn’t planning on releasing his solo album until September, that was all fine.

Then the Diplo record was delayed. When Tedder’s manager asked Brown to likewise delay his release, the latter’s manager said that that wasn’t possible, as plans were now underway for the launch of ‘The Controversy’.

Brown’s lawsuit insists that, during all this back and forth communication, neither Tedder nor his manager ever said that they objected to the release of ‘Nowhere Left To Go’, nor did they claim any right to prevent such a release, even after the Diplo track was delayed.

But once ‘The Controversy’ went online, team Tedder issued a takedown notice against TuneCore. The takedown claimed that Tedder’s rights had been infringed because, while compulsory and blanket licences basically cover the streaming of songs in the US, the songwriter still has control over the first issuing of their work.

The takedown notice resulted in Brown’s whole album going offline for a time. And while some platforms have now restored the record, they have done so minus ‘Nowhere Left To Go’. In last week’s lawsuit, Brown insists that he has the rights to release a recording of his song, and therefore Tedder’s takedown was “factually false and legally incorrect”.

Tedder’s team is yet to respond to Brown’s claims.