Earlier this year, the 1990s hip-hop duo Black Sheep filed a class-action lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG) over the label’s business dealings with Spotify. The breach of contract lawsuit claimed that the label owed more than $750 million in royalties to various artists. That lawsuit was dismissed on Monday, court documents viewed by Pitchfork confirm.
The rappers’ lawsuit argued that UMG’s “undisclosed, sweetheart deal with Spotify” violated the duo’s 1990 contract with Universal imprint Polygram. They claimed that the contract required for UMG to pay 50 percent of all net receipts connected to the “use or exploration” of their music. They claimed the class impacted in the lawsuit could include “at least thousands of artists.”
United States District Judge Jennifer Rochon decided that Black Sheep had exceeded the statute of limitations, therefore deeming their lawsuit time barred. Judge Rochon also rejected the rappers’ argument that UMG was in breach of contract. Their request for leave to amend was denied, and the case was closed. UMG declined to comment. Pitchfork has reached out to Black Sheep’s attorneys.