Latin superstar Enrique Iglesias is accusing Universal Music Group of "systematically underpaying" his streaming royalties in a new lawsuit filed Wednesday in a Miami federal court.
According to the suit, Iglesias has sought to inspect Universal's bookkeeping after receiving what is described as a "small fraction" of his 50 percent royalty rate for streaming. The artist and his legal team believe UMG's "improper accounting" has resulted in a shortfall running in the millions of dollars, and is demanding the court enforce his streaming rate and force the label to pay lost royalties.
"Few business relationships in the history of the music industry have achieved the commercial success attained by Enrique Iglesias and Universal: 100 million albums sold, billions of streams, and repeat appearances at the top of the Billboard charts," Iglesias' attorney James Sammataro said in a statement provided to Billboard. "Despite this record-breaking success, Universal has wrongly insisted that artists like Enrique be paid for streams in the same manner as they are paid for physical records despite the fact that none of the attendant costs (production, distribution, inventory, losses) actually exist in the digital world. This is not what Enrique’s contract, or the contracts of many other artists, call for.