3LAU Accused of Not Paying Songwriter Her Fair Share From Massive ‘Ultraviolet’ NFT Auction
The DJ made $11.7 million from a much-publicized NFT auction tied to his album Ultraviolet. A co-writer of one of the songs says she was offered just $25,000.
3LAU is facing a new lawsuit that claims the DJ refused to properly share the earnings from an $11 million NFT auction with a musical collaborator who co-authored one of the songs involved.
In a complaint filed Wednesday (Nov. 9) in New York federal court, Luna Aura (real name Angela Anne Flores) says she has a 50% royalty stake in the song “Walk Away” from his album Ultraviolet — but that 3LAU (real name Justin Blau) offered her just $25,000 from the much-publicized NFT auction tied to the record.
“Despite this financial windfall, defendants only offered Luna Aura a flat one-time payment of twenty-five thousand dollars as compensation in connection with the sale of Ultraviolet and ‘Walk Away’ NFTs,” her lawyers wrote.
In a statement to Billboard, 3LAU’s manager Andrew Goldstone strongly denied the allegations: “These claims are without merit, and we will vigorously defend the lawsuit that was just filed yesterday without any prior notice. There are no set standards for how to approach an NFT project like this, which involved much more than just the music. Justin’s team tried for months to reach a deal with Flores in good faith, but she stopped responding and instead chose to file a lawsuit.”
Even during last year’s fever-dream craze for NFTs (non-fungible tokens), 3LAU’s Feb. 2021 auction stood out as notable. By selling 33 collectible tokens linked to his 3-year-old album Ultraviolet — the NFTs gave the buyers access to vinyl copies, unreleased music and other special experiences — the DJ-producer raked in $11.7 million. “It was one of those moments in my life where I was like, ‘Holy s—,’” 3LAU told Billboard at the time. “‘I think we just changed everything.’”
But according to Aura’s new lawsuit, he didn’t share those profits with a key person who helped create the album. She says the auction was done without any notice to her, and that the sale breached her 2017 agreement with Blau.
“Luna Aura has not received any compensation from revenues generated from the NFT project, nor has Luna Aura [received] appropriate credit in connection with the ‘Walk Away’ and Ultraviolet NFTs,” her lawyers wrote. “Despite the commercial and financial success of the NFT auction, defendants only offered Luna Aura an after-the-fact, one-time payment.”
The lawsuit did not specify how much Aura believes is an appropriate cut from the Ultraviolet NFTs but demanded an accounting to determine how much is owed.