Kane Brown Files Countersuit Against Former Producer Polow da Don
After being sued for breach of contract by former producer Polow da Don, Kane Brown is filing his own lawsuit. Brown's legal claim alleges that his contract with the producer and his record label was a fraudulent deal.
Nashville's Tennessean newspaper reports that Brown's counterclaim alleges that Polow da Don (real name: Jamal Jones) and his company, Zone 4, "fraudulently induced Mr. Brown into signing a lopsided recording agreement in 2015 and repeatedly misled Mr. Brown and others to protect it." In his suit, Brown claims that his agreement with Brown and Zone 4 "cost him millions and drastically limited his earning potential."
In 2015, Jones -- who, as a producer, has worked with a number of pop, R&B and rap artists, including Rihanna, Lil Wayne and more -- offered to record with and produce a project for Brown. The two entered into an agreement through Zone 4, which included one album with five options; Zone 4 would receive 50 percent of album royalties and 25 percent of the money made from sponsorship deals, collaborations, live events and more activities. Through that deal, Jones and Brown collaborated on three songs, one of which was Brown's breakout hit, "Used to Love You Sober."
Sony Music Entertainment, the parent company of RCA Nashville, had passed on signing Brown before Jones signed him, the producer claims, and when Jones approached the company's Epic Records with a distribution deal for Brown's music, they declined. In December of 2015, however, Epic reached out to discuss a deal. No agreement came together -- but, Jones says in his lawsuit, that's when Sony and Brown's team began talking directly and "began negotiating and eventually executed a direct recording deal without Plaintiff’s involvement despite Plaintiff holding the exclusive rights to Defendant’s recording services."
However, Brown's lawyers explain in the countersuit that Jones and Zone 4 had not disclosed an agreement they held with Epic Records that meant Jones could not pursue a contract for Brown elsewhere, thereby misrepresenting their connections within the music industry and making the deal between Brown and Jones / Zone 4 fraudulent. ""Mr. Brown would not have entered the 2015 agreement with Zone 4 had he known that Zone 4 was contractually prohibited by operation of the Secret 2013 Epic/Sony Deal from shopping his recording to any record labels other than Epic/Sony," Brown's countersuit reads.
In early 2016, Jones claims, Brown was not communicating with him; the country star's lawyer told Jones that their agreement had been terminated. Jones later learned of Brown's RCA Nashville record deal, and that he had signed with Universal Music Publishing Group as well. According to Jones, Brown owes him royalties on those deals, plus a percentage of their advances.
Jones also says that, in response to requests for accounting information related to Brown, he was sent a letter that accused him of harassment and threatened legal action. Jones replied to that letter with a notice of breach of contract and a request for clarification. "But," his lawsuit alleges, "each such attempt has been met with protracted periods of silence punctuated only by an occasional email setting a time to speak that eventually gets rescheduled or simply ignored."
However, in his countersuit, Brown alleges that Jones and Zone 4 entered into another agreement with Brown's label in 2016, making the 2015 deal "null and void." The country star is asking the court to dismiss Jones' original lawsuit, and to order Zone 4 to reimburse "any and all proceeds and revenue" from their 2015 deal.
Jones, via the Zone 4 label, meanwhile, is seeking unspecified damages. He's also asking for a complete accounting of the revenue sources outlined in Brown's record deal, and an order stating that Brown must adhere to their original deal.
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