For the first time since a ruling in its favor last Friday in a request by the pop singer Kesha to be released from her contract, Sony Music has publicly addressed the furor over a situation both legal and ethical that many — including her fellow artists — have characterized as career imprisonment.
Speaking to The New York Times on Wednesday about the ongoing case — in which Kesha has accused her longtime producer Dr. Luke of sexual abuse and misconduct — Sony Music lawyer Scott A. Edelman said the company is “not in a position to terminate the contractual relationship between Luke and Kesha.” Edelman also said, “Sony is doing everything it can to support the artist in these circumstances, but is legally unable to terminate the contract to which it is not a party.”
The reason for that, sources confirmed to Billboard, is that the initial contract with Kesha, signed in 2005, was between Kesha and Kasz Money, Dr. Luke’s company. From there, Luke brought the agreement, in 2009, to Sony Music subsidiary RCA/Jive, signing what amounts to a distribution deal on that initial 2005 contract.
Two years later, RCA/Jive CEO Barry Weiss left that company for Universal Music Group (he’s since moved on from UMG), which prompted the dissolution of RCA/Jive and the shuttling, yet again, of Kesha’s contract to Kemosabe Records, a new Sony Music subsidiary set up in the wake of RCA/Jive’s demise.
Through these various agreements, breakups, formations and transfers, Kasz Money essentially licensed its contract with Kesha to various Sony Music subsidiaries, but retained ownership of the agreement throughout.