Singer Sues to End Arista Contract
Singer Toni Braxton filed suit against La Face Records and its parent company, Arista Records, seeking to terminate her recording contract. The case, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, invokes a 50-year-old California law designed to protect movie actors from long-term studio deals. The so-called seven-year rule bars employers from enforcing personal-service contracts for more than seven years. By this measurement, the suit claims Braxton’s contract should have expired in August 1996. In a statement, Braxton’s attorney, Stanton Stein, said that while Braxton’s two albums for Arista (“Toni Braxton” and “Secrets”) have sold more than 15 million copies and brought in an estimated $170 million to the company, the singer “has only received an average royalty of just 35 cents an album.” Even unknowns today generally get upward of 10% in royalties, while superstars can get 20% to 25%. One source expressed bafflement at the Braxton suit, as the singer had reportedly just renegotiated for much better terms with La Face. Representatives for the record companies could not be reached late Friday for comment.