The Persuasions File Suit Against UMG, WMG, Sony/ATV, and More, for 48 Years of Unpaid Royalties
The a cappella group claim they haven’t received a penny in royalties for nearly half a century.
The surviving members of Brooklyn a capella group, The Persuasions, are suing every major label under the sun for unpaid royalties dating back as far as 1971.
According to Billboard, the estates of James “Bro” Caldon Hayes, Herbert “Turbo” Rhoad, and Jesse “Sweet Joe” Russell, have joined living members Jerry Lawson, Jayotis Washington, and Raymond Sanders, under the representation of attorney Larry Zerner to file suit against Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Capitol Records, Sony/ATV and Concord Music Group. The group claims to have never received any royalties from physical sales, streams or licensing for nearly half a century.
While they made money on the road, as an a cappella group, The Persuasions weren’t exactly chart material. They did, however, find new life in 2015, when Jamie xx snatched the hook for “I Know There’s Gonna Be (Good Times)” from one of their songs. The following year, the British producer’s single was licensed to Apple for an iPhone 6 commercial.
In a statement to Billboard, Zerner claims “We asked them for the contract. We said we are not getting paid. You are licensing these songs. Where is the contract that gives you the basis for that. Do you think you have the right to do that and not pay my clients. We tried to get an answer and we got no response.”
The surviving members and the estates of the group’s deceased maintain that they never signed over their IP rights, adding that some of the group’s members could not even read or write.
Zerner estimates the backpay could be worth “millions of dollars.”