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Donald Glover's former record label is taking him to court over royalty payments

Photo: Tommaso Boddi (Getty Images)

Because there’s apparently no part of the entertainment industry that Donald Glover won’t try to ruthlessly flip on its head, the actor, producer, and rapper is reportedly being sued by his former record label for allegedly withholding royalties from them. This is per Variety, which reports that Glover—a.k.a. Childish Gambino—is the subject of a legal inquiry from Glassnote Records, which he first signed with in 2011, and which is claiming that Glover refuses to give them any of their share of the digital streaming royalties for his music, an amount supposedly equaling about $350,000 since 2012.

Glassnote was Childish Gambino’s label across multiple mixtapes and three albums, most recently 2016's “Awaken, My Love!, before he left them last year to sign with RCA. But Glover apparently decided at some point in the recent past that the label was no longer entitled to the streaming royalties on his work, asking that SoundExchange—the non-profit largely responsible for collecting and distributing royalty payments for digital music—send him the entirety of the money, instead.


Now, Glassnote has filed a statement with a New York district court, asking it to weigh in on whether its royalty agreement with Childish Gambino still stands. The company’s statement claims that it had “enjoyed a productive and profitable creative and business relationship” with Glover until recently, noting that it had paid him “approximately $10 million in royalties” during their time together.

Glover has said in recent months that he’ll be retiring the Childish Gambino name some time soon, but in the meantime, he’s had a banner year, including a much-discussed video for his song “This Is America.”

Correction: A earlier version of this article referred to Glover’s former label as “Glasshouse Records,” not “Glassnote Records.” We regret the error.

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