Kenny Rogers Sues Capitol Records Over Royalties

Kenny Rogers is suing Capitol Records, claiming the company has not properly paid him for digital downloads, ringtones and other uses of his songs.

Rogers in the lawsuit filed Monday in federal court in Nashville is seeking a declaration that under his contract, he is owed 50 percent of net royalties for the licensing of his master recordings to third-parties like iTunes and Verizon Wireless. Rogers’ hits include “The Gambler” and “Lady.”

“The actions of Capitol Records was part of an ongoing and deliberate attempt by record labels to deprive artists, like Kenny Rogers, in California, and elsewhere of their rightful royalties for music downloads, ringtones, and mastertones,” according to the lawsuit.

A spokesman for Capitol Records did not return a call seeking comment.

The lawsuit states that Rogers began an audit of Capitol’s books back in 2007 and was engaged in fruitless settlement negotiations with the company for about three years before suing.

Rogers, who lives in Atlanta but maintains offices in Nashville, claims the company owes him at least $400,000. He said he does not know the total amount because Capitol has withheld some financial records.

Photo: Chris McKay /
The Classic Center, Athens, Ga.

He is asking for restitution as well as compensatory damages, attorneys’ fees and interest.