News And Notes
Dec 19

2012 Rewind: No. 8 – Tim McGraw’s Legal Troubles with Curb Records

Tim McGraw

Tim McGraw photo courtesy of The GreenRoom.

In May, Tim McGraw announced he had signed a new record deal with Big Machine Records. The new deal is just a part of the legal saga that Tim has been involved with concerning former label Curb Records since late 2011 when he sought permission from a Nashville court to record his next album with another label. Curb claims Tim breached his 1997 contract by providing an album too soon. That album, Emotional Traffic, has since been released.

Tim’s attorney argued that Crub Records was trying to put his career on hold with the lawsuit and that he should be free to record while the lawsuit continued. Lawyers for Curb Records argued the label lost two years of recordings that should have been on his fifth album with Curb. The courts ruled Tim to no longer be a Curb recording artist, freeing him to later sign with Big Machine Records.

In June, following Tim’s signing with BMLG, the battle took another turn. Courts ruled in favor of Curb’s request to postpone the trial scheduled for July to give them a chance to review additional evidence surrounding Tim’s signing with the new label and when the 20 songs for Tim’s Big Machine Records debut album were recorded. The court also ruled that while Tim was not prevented from signing with another label, he may be liable for his failure to perform under his Curb contract.

Curb Records asked the Courts to find that Tim is still under their contract and the 20 recordings from which he plans to release an album on Big Machine Records belong to Curb, as they were recorded during the term of his Curb contract. Tim and his counsel released a response to Curb’s public statements stating the Court’s only ruling was to postpone the trial at the request of Curb.

“There was no ruling about anything else, and specifically there was no ruling regarding the substance of either party’s claims in the lawsuit ,” the statement read. “The Court’s ruling did not affect, in any way, Mr. McGraw’s relationship with Big Machine Records.”

“The Court’s Order on the postponement and its prior ruling issued on December 8, 2011 are public documents and are available on the web site of the Davidson County Chancery Court Clerk,” the statement continued. “Mr. McGraw and his counsel believe that the rulings speak for themselves, and that it is not proper for either of the parties to issue a press release regarding these matters.”

Things got messier still when Curb filed subpoenas on Big Machine Records and President Scott Borchetta seeking a wide variety of materials from Big Machine, including its contract with Tim, contracts with distributor Universal Music Group, emails, marketing materials, media invitation lists, press releases and more. Curb also sought to question Borchetta and other Big Machine executive staff.

In September, a three-judge panel of Tennessee’s Court of Appeals upheld a lower court ruling allowing Tim to continue recording with Big Machine Records, reports the Tennessean. The lawsuit is still ongoing. Tim will release his first Big Machine Records album, Two Lanes of Freedom, on February 5.


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