UPDATE: On Friday (Sept. 3), a judge granted Big Ligas a joint emergency motion for review of denial of stay of order determining immediate possession of property, putting a temporary stay on the verdict pending further review.
Paulo Londra scored a major victory against his former record label after a judge ruled that the 23-year-old Argentine trap artist has no further recording obligations or future contractual grants to Big Ligas.
Londra helped co-found Big Ligas in 2018 with Colombian entrepreneur Cristian Salazar and producer Daniel “Ovy on the Drums” Oviedo. But for the past two years, Londra has alleged that Salazar and Oviedo “defrauded” him when they had him sign a three-year term joint venture agreement deal memo, which — according to legal documents — was then extended without Londra’s consent.
In a counter lawsuit filed March 2020, the “Chica Paranormal” singer asked the Miami-Dade County court to affirm that the joint venture deal had been “properly” terminated. In a 13-page order, Judge William Thomas ruled that the deal memo’s term expired Feb. 20, 2021, adding that, “Even if the language of the relevant contracts supported Big Ligas’ proffered interpretation of the Deal Memo’s term (which it plainly does not), the Deal Memo could not be enforced because it would constitute an illegal restraint of trade and lead to absurd results.”
Two years after co-launching label Big Ligas, Salazar and Oviedo — represented by Matthew Greenberg, Stephanie Chopurian, and Ritholz Levy Fields LLP — filed a lawsuit against the singer-songwriter accusing Londra of breach of contract and indebtedness since since he stopped delivering new music notwithstanding his obligations under the agreement.
Londra in turn filed a lawsuit accusing Salazar and Oviedo of fraud and negligent representation, and alleged he was “duped” into signing the memo that launched Big Ligas thinking it was a “prop” for a video shoot directed by Salazar. Londra’s legal team was led by entertainment attorney Helen Yu.
At the root of the dispute is a deal memo Londra signed early on in his career, when he was 19, giving up his publishing and songwriting rights to a joint venture he co-founded. The deal stipulated Londra would record music exclusively for the joint venture and assign to Big Ligas 100% of his master recordings and publishing copyright interest in exchange for a royalty of 55% of Big Ligas’ earnings (including advances) for recordings (including streaming), and 73.3% of Big Ligas’ earnings (including advances) for musical compositions.”
The initial term was three years, but if Big Ligas entered a recording or publishing agreement with a “major label” — it would modify the contract’s initial three-year term. During the course of the term, Big Ligas entered a $3 million licensing deal with Warner Music in January 2019 for Londra’s Homerun album, according to documents.
“The Big Ligas Defendants’ assertion that they can unilaterally enter into recording agreements for Londra’s services, such as the Warner Amendment, would give them discretion to extend the Deal Memo’s term in perpetuity and force Londra’s personal services to write songs and record music for the Big Ligas Defendants against his will forever,” the judge stated.
Under Big Ligas, Londra released his debut album, Homerun, with Warner Music Latina in May 2019. The album debuted at No. 12 on Billboard‘s Top Latin Albums chart and No. 10 on the Latin Rhythm Albums chart. He scored a best new artist nomination at the 2019 Latin Grammys. To date, Londra has over 220 million career on-demand streams in the U.S. alone, according to Nielsen Music/MRC Data.
Billboard reached out to all parties for comment but did not hear back at press time.