(CN) – Latin music star Prince Royce has been improperly trying to cut out the record label that launched his career, Top Stop Music claims in court.
“Ignoring the cautionary tale of ‘never forgetting those who have helped you,’ Prince Royce has turned his back on Top Stop, despite the fact that Top Stop has spent in excess of two million dollars cultivating his entertainment career and propelling him from an unsigned MySpace artist to No. 1 on the Latin Billboard charts,” according to the complaint in Miami’s 11th Judicial Circuit Court. “Ostensibly persuaded that he can achieve greater success with his new management team and the new record and publishing agreements that they wish to put in place, Prince Royce has expressly repudiated and terminated the parties’ written agreements – under which they have been working for several years – denying Top Stop Music its contractual rights to option Prince Royce’s next three recording albums, as well as Top Stop Music Publishing’s rights under the parties’ publishing agreement.”
Born Geoffrey Royce Rojas, the 23-year-old singer won three awards at the Billboard Latin Music Awards in 2011. His eponymous first album reached No. 1 on the Billboard charts for Tropical Albums and Latin Albums, buoyed by his hit song “Corazon Sin Cara” and a bachata rendition of “Stand by Me.”
Top Stop founder and Grammy-winning producer Sergio George, who has worked with music superstars such as Marc Anthony, Christina Aguilera and Jennifer Lopez, says he discovered Royce on MySpace in 2009.
But despite good buzz, Royce’s album “did not result in profit for Top Stop Music,” according to the complaint.
“Nonetheless, with the hope of furthering Prince Royce’s career and building on ‘Prince Royce’s’ momentum, Top Stop Music exercised its contractual option to the first of four additional albums,” the complaint continues.
Royce’s sophomore album, “Phase II,” represents a collaborative effort between the singer, Top Stop and George, the label claims.
Even though this album took off, however, Royce has been trying to leave Top Stop, according to the complaint.
The label says that Royce has taken the position that his contract with Top Stop is merely “a non-binding letter of intent.”
The singer’s attorney, Matthew Greenberg of Ritholz Levy Sanders Chidekel & Fields, allegedly told the label in a letter that “Top Stop has no entitlement to Royce’s recording or song-writing services or the product of those services.”
Top Stop says Royce had been making such claims since January 2012, but still accepted the label’s financial support to release “Phase II” in April 2012.
But Top Stop paints a different story.
“Royce is bound by valid and enforceable recording and publishing agreements,” Top Stop attorney James Sammataro, of Stroock Stroock & Lavan, said in a statement. “Under our view, he is precluded from signing with any third-party – irrespective of the status of the lawsuit.”
Though Royce has also claimed that Top Stop owes him unpaid royalties, Sammataro says the artist royalty and publishing statements all demonstrate that Royce is not owed any amounts whatsoever.
Top Stop seeks damages for breach of publishing agreement, breach of recording contract, breach of contract implied in faith and unjust enrichment.
Royce is on tour throughout Latin America and will eventually perform in New York and Los Angeles. He recently performed as part of Jay-Z’s Made in America festival in Philadelphia.
–Courtesy of CourthouseNews.com