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Music industry contract dispute shows dark side of business

Florida residents may be familiar with the music of singer-songwriter Audrianna Cole. A recent lawsuit surrounding the artist has made waves in the recording industry, as a talent agency and a music executive argue over who should profit from her success. The contract dispute case offers a peek behind the curtain and a look at the business workings of the music industry.

The suit was filed by HighJAC Productions, a talent agency based in Florida. The group alleges that they discovered Cole in 2009, and subsequently negotiated a deal between two HighJAC partners and an outside music executive over the singer’s career. However, that agreement went sour when the executive allegedly refused to include the two HighJAC partners in key decisions and deals.

The suit alleges that the executive had Cole sign a short-term contract by use of a variety of misrepresentations. It goes on to state that the executive refused to confirm his verbal agreement with the HighJAC partners in writing, then excluded them from participating in business dealings concerning the singer’s career path. HighJAC claims to have spent more than $100,000 on promoting and supporting Cole, who is now thriving within the industry.

As a result, the plaintiff is asking the court to award $150,000 in damages, along with $45,000 in interest. Florida based HighJAC is also asking that the exclusive recording agreement between the parties be rescinded. This contract dispute case demonstrates the high stakes at play within the music industry, as well as the length that parties are willing to go in order to protect their interest in a rising music star.

Source: Courthouse News Service, “Music Manager Accused of Poaching Singer,” Matt Reynolds, Nov. 9, 2012

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