Tim McGraw free agent after winning legal fight with label

By | Published on Thursday 1 December 2011

Tim McGraw

Country star Tim McGraw has won the first part of a legal battle with his career long record label partners Curb Records.

The relationship between McGraw and Curb, which began in 1992, has been deteriorating for some time, but went legal in May when both sides filed lawsuits against the other. At the centre of the litigation was whether McGraw’s latest work, an album called ‘Emotional Traffic’, fulfilled the artist’s contractual commitments to the label regards new recordings, whether he was due an advance on it, and whether he was now out of contract with the record company.

In a complicated claim, Curb said the songs on ‘Emotional Traffic’ were not sufficiently new (the company said recordings started in 2008, he claims the studio work took place in 2009/10), and that McGraw remained tied to the label when it came to recordings. McGraw’s lengthy countersuit said the new album was in line with his contract, and that he now considered himself to be a free agent label-wise.

According to the Nashville Tennessean, yesterday a judge ruled in McGraw’s favour in regard to the singer’s contractual commitments, concluding that the artist had provided Curb with as many recordings as he was obligated to, and that he was now free to work with other labels on or self-release any new material. A separate hearing will take place next July to consider McGraw’s claim for damages against the label, which he claims breached his contract by refusing to pay an advance on ‘Emotional Traffic’.

Needless to say, McGraw seemed pleased with the ruling, but Curb pledged to fight further on this. The record company’s legal rep issued a statement saying it “intends to continue to pursue these claims, including through the appeals process as appropriate in light of the importance of the underlying principles involved”.