​Phillip Phillips Sues American Idol Producer Over Contract

Staff Reporter
Jan. 27, 2015

Former American Idol winner Phillip Phillips has filed a legal claim to void his contract in recording and merchandising deals with Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment.

Phillips claims that 19 Entertainment controls every aspect of his career and that the company isn’t acting in his best interests. The American Idol singer told The Hollywood Reporter, “I am very grateful for the opportunities provided to me through appearing on American Idol,” says Phillips. He also doesn’t want his fans to be distracted with the current legal proceedings.

“The value that the fans and the show have given to my career is not lost on me,” the 24-year-old said in a statement. “However, I have not felt that I have been free to conduct my career in a way that I am comfortable with. I look forward to being able to make my own choices about my career and to being able to make great music and play it for my fans.”

USA Today reports that 19 Entertainment lined up a producer for his first two albums that “compromised his interests,” and also lied to him, promising the producer wouldn’t receive greater mechanical royalty rates on songs than he would.

Some of the allegations Phillips has made against 19 include:

  • He was “forced” to perform a free show for JetBlue solely because they’re one of American Idol’s sponsors.
  • Wasn’t consulted about the title of his last album, and only learned of it through the media.
  • 19 gets an unfair 40 percent cut of all his merchandising, which includes endorsements deals.
  • Phillips performed a corporate gig for an insurance company, which 19 labelled an “endorsement deal” in order to take a 40 percent commission rather than the 20 percent commission agreed to in Phillips’ management agreement.
  • 19 lied to Phillips, telling him that a producer they arranged for his last album wouldn’t receive greater mechanical royalty rates than he would.
  • 19 failed to respond to Phillips’ “frequent requests” to renegotiate his contract because 19 served as both his management company and record label, so they weren’t operating in his best interests.

19 Entertainment is fighting Phillips, telling TMZ: “We have always acted in the best interest of Phillip. We will vigorously defend outselves from any baseless claims to the contrary and from any attempt to interfere with our rights and relationships.”

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