Following a contentious legal battle that played out in Spanish-language media, Prince Royce (aka Geoffrey Royce Rojas) resolved disputes with his former record label, Top Stop Music, and is now a free agent. "I am thankful to Top Stop for releasing my first two albums and believing in me," Royce said in a statement. "I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio soon." In a separate release, Top Stop says the case was bound for resolution with Royce agreeing to pay a "substantial" amount of money to free himself from his contract. "It's the happy end of a stage," Top Stop president Sergio George said. In September 2012, Royce was sued for breach of contract by Top Stop, which had signed him as both an artist and songwriter. Royce countersued Top Stop the following month, denying that the label held rights to his recording services, future songs or options for his English-language albums. The warring parties met last month and a resolution was announced Feb. 19. Prince Royce was initially managed by Top Stop as well, but since last year he has been represented by DAS Communications.
Following its purchase of Parlophone Label Group and aimed at placating European regulators, Warner Music Group will sell some assets to independent labels. Impala, the trade organization representing indies in Europe, joined Merlin, which represents the digital rights of independents, in facilitating the deal. Sources tell Billboard that WMG will offer 25%-33% of its newly acquired Parlophone assets--or an equivalent in WMG-owned assets, possibly including previous licensing and distribution pacts--as part of the new deal. Impala plans to further scale the independent sector through the purchase, licensing or distribution of these holdings. "Having not blocked the sale of EMI, the result we have negotiated offers regulators the 'best of both worlds' in strengthening the independents by bringing more scale into the sector and creating a more effective challenger to the Universal Sony duopoly," Impala executive chairman Helen Smith said in a statement.
Newly announced publishing deals include last week's Billboard cover star Miguel signing an exclusive worldwide agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group, as well as Jay-Z's company Roc Nation signing a worldwide administration deal with Warner/Chappell. The latter deal grants the publisher rights to the rapper's music dating back to 2008 as well as any future work, effective immediately, while most of his catalog's other material will transfer over to ÂWarner/Chappell by the end of the year. A separate deal puts the past and future catalogs of Roc Nation's artists on the publisher's roster immediately.