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MasterClass Meltdown Of The Day: Phillip Phillips Sues 19E For Career Manipulation


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(Sigh). Seriously, this is beyond ridiculous. I am still trying to wrap my head around this American Idol News Item.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, American Idol Season 11 Winner, Phillip Phillips, is suing the company for manipulating his career via his recordings, special bookings and appearances.

In other words, he is suing them for doing their job. Yes, many of their decisions were made without Philipp’s consent but without 19E fuelling his career would we have ever heard of this singer again? Seriously?

Here are some of the details (via The Hollywood Reporter):

“Before Idol viewers voted him the winner that year, Phillips signed a series of contracts governing his management, merchandising, recording and publishing. The deals are quite favorable to 19 Entertainment, a company founded by Simon Fuller that also produces other shows such as So You Think You Can Dance.

For example, according to the complaint, when Phillips does endorsements, 19 gets as much as a 40 percent cut.
Nevertheless, Phillips tells the California Labor Commissioner that 19 has a fiduciary duty to him, and that the company has breached such duty by compelling him to take jobs that are of benefit to the company and its affiliates rather than to him.

In the time since he’s been on the show, his managers at 19 have lined up gigs like performing at the NBA All-Star Game, singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at a World Series game, and appearing on such shows as Letterman, the Today show, Ellen and The View. The appearances are said to have been “procured” by 19 despite not being licensed as an agent. This, the petition argues, amounts to a “pattern and practice of flagrant violations of the [TAA].”

Alrighty then. Did Phillip actually think he was going to obtain those gigs on his own merit? If so, he is living in la la land.

Look, I know how binding these contracts can be – it’s all or nothing. But, at the end of the day, 19E made him a star and he should just wait out his time and quietly part ways once his contract is up. This is what many before him have done while still remaining loyal to the American Idol franchise.

You’ve had a nice ride, Phillip. Let’s see how you do without the Idol Machine Limousine in your back pocket.

Comment away – but be nice.

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About Masterclass Lady

Rosanne (Giallonardo) Simunovic began her musical career in Timmins, Ontario. She studied piano with Anne Pizzale and later, at an advanced level, with Soeur Anita Vaugeois (Sister Cecile of Les Soeurs De L’Assomption in Timmins). Her vocal and accompaniment skills were nurtured by her aunt, the late Dorothea Mascioli. When Rosanne graduated from O’Gorman High School, she moved on to the University of Toronto where she continued her piano and vocal studies while attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She was hired as a piano accompanist for several musical companies, most notably, the National Ballet Of Canada. She presently holds an A.R.C.T. Teacher’s Diploma in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto. Rosanne has studied choral conducting with numerous well known Canadian Conductors, including Wayne Riddell of Montreal, Quebec and the internationally renowned Dr. Elmer Iseler. She has been a founding member of numerous community-based arts organizations: the Timmins Arts Council, later known as Arts & Culture Timmins, the Timmins Symphony Orchestra, and, the Timmins Youth Singers…as well as the TYS Alumnus choir, the Timmins Concert Singers. In 1987, she was also selected to be the conductor of the Timmins Board Of Education Choir, comprised of talented students from Grades 5 to 8. In 1988, she was elected to the Board Of Directors of the Ontario Choral Federation (now known as Choirs Ontario), where she served as Chair of the Festivals Committee for six consecutive seasons. In 1996, in honour of the Ontario Choral Federation’s 25th Anniversary, Rosanne was selected as one of 25 recipients of the OCF’s Distinguished Service Award for outstanding contribution to the choral art. The ceremony was presided by Lieutenant Governor, Hal Jackman. In November 1997, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Rotary Club Of Timmins to receive the prestigious Paul Harris Award for her years of dedication to the artistic development of young musical talent in Timmins. In August of 2002, Rosanne Simunovic was selected by the Board Of Directors of Choirs Ontario to serve as Conductor of both the Provincial Junior and Teen Choir Camps, now renamed in honour of the Camp Benefactors, Don and Lillian Wright. In November 2002, Rosanne was the one of the recipients of the Commemorative Medal for the Golden Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, honouring her work in the development of the arts in Timmins. Under Rosanne Simunovic’s direction, the Timmins Youth Singers and the Timmins Concert Singers have been featured in numerous choral festivals and performing opportunities outside of Timmins. In 1985, they were selected to partici

14 Responses to “MasterClass Meltdown Of The Day: Phillip Phillips Sues 19E For Career Manipulation”

  1. so yes, they’ve got him all those gigs…which probably every winner of a big program would get. I think though…and I can confirm this with my kid who spent time at CMC school in Nashville an idol winner (best not to say name) advised them to stay away…the binding contract is ludicrous and is still paying for it way beyond anyones expectation. I hope the real contracts come to light… there are things the public just don’t know bout this stuff.

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  2. Yes I understand this Georgia. I truly do. But it is a phenomenal platform. Let’s see how well he does without the Idol Machine propelling him.

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  3. I’m not sure I understand the whole “licensed as an agent” thing means. Maybe he doesn’t have a choice as to what gigs he does. Maybe he’s had to do ones he doesn’t believe in philosophically? Maybe he had offers to different gigs that were more his style that were in scheduling conflict: playing in a charity concert, an opportunity to guest play with Eric Clapton (just an idea off the top of my head). I agree with georgiabudd that there are probably things we have no idea about. This reminds me of the old contracts you heard about with Phil Spector and Motown, Billy Joel, etc.

    These are pretty naive kids coming into American Idol. The most savvy was Adam Lambert probably because he had already been involved with contracts with the off-Broadway productions he was in. PLUS, he didn’t win. Maybe that’s the best thing ever. Most of these kids are broke and couldn’t afford a high-powered lawyer to advocate on their account. I don’t know how much they get paid to be on Idol, but they probably sign the agreement before they go to live shows.

    It certainly wouldn’t be the first time that big business took advantage of upcoming artists.

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  4. Jessica – yes, I understand all this. But INSTANT fame comes with a price. Phillip’s contract is over in a few months – why sue now? Just walk away and sign with another manager and do not burn bridges.

    These “kids” are not taken advantage of – they know full well -or should know – the implications when they sign on with the show. You need to be savvy when you are navigating the music industry – you can’t waltz around with your eyes closed.

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  5. I wonder why he is suing with just a couple of months left. I wonder if some union is encouraging artists to do so to bring light as a whole to the TAA law?? Maybe his new agent is encouraging him to do so for financial gain. All the legalese … who knows.

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  6. and you ask ‘why is he suing?’ – the simple answer is because as a citizen of the US he can and as we know (it’s here in Canada now) it is done way too often.

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  7. MCL, I fully agree with you that he probably would have been much wiser to just work out the contract. If I understand correctly (and perhaps I do not!), he’s not accusing 19E of doing their job in such a way as benefits themselves, exactly. He’s accusing his management company (one part of 19E) of acting not in their client’s (his) interests but instead in the label’s (another part of 19E’s) interests. If he can prove that his agent (the management arm of 19E) was doing that, he may well win–but a suit like that can take years to move through the courts, longer than it would take to work out the contract, and meanwhile 19E will have little incentive to promote him, and they’ve proven that they are pretty good at promotion when they want to be. I can only guess that he’s gambling that 19E will release him from the contract just so they won’t have a court ruling on the legality of the arrangement, because if it’s found illegal that could open up a whole can of worms.

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  8. Yes, Rachel, you bring up many valid points. But, in the end, he is going to lose.

    And, honestly, this, unfortunately, is the reality of the music business whether it is American a Idol or not. It’s a business and the bottom line is the almighty dollar. In the end, they made him a star – this never would have happened if he wasn’t involved with AI.

    If you don’t like your manager, hire an attorney and quietly work out the negotiations to move on or to settle.

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  9. I wonder who makes the royalties for his song “Home” which is used in so so many commercial. (American Family insurance, etc.). I hope the song writer and PP in addition to 19.

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  10. Yes good question Jessica. I am sure he is getting some of the royalties but I would be interested in that split as well.

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  11. ASCAP has in place protections for the songwriter, so whoever wrote the song is getting royalties; US law sets a rate for songwriters, I know (although lower rates can be negotiated). But so far as I know, singers do not get performance royalties in the US, they only get royalties on sales of their recordings.

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  12. There was a precedent, maybe more than one. Clay Aiken managed to get out from the Idol contract:
    After some googling I found this: http://www.reuters.com/article/2007/04/22/television-idolattorney-dc-idUSN1939833420070422

    “After being named runner-up in the voting but becoming the breakout star of the show’s second season, Clay Aiken hired Atlanta entertainment lawyer Jess Rosen and was able to extricate himself from his management contract. Other contestants, such as Season 4 finalist Mario Vazquez, have followed suit, leaving lawyers to debate whether contestants are getting a fair deal.” They say the contract is different today than it was before though.

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  13. I thought this was interesting when I read about it this morning. When Philip was a contestant, he definitely tried to maintain his individuality. For instance, he never allowed them to give him a “make over” as they do to some of the contestants. I’m especially referring to his clothing style. And, if I remember correctly, he was on Idol when the show had theme weeks, but his performances always sounded like Philip. In other words, he seemed to resist what Idol was about while he used it to reach stardom. The thought occurred to me that he should have been grateful that a rep from 19E was still interested in him to get him any gigs. It seems to me that they did nothing to help some of their winners, i.e., Taylor Hicks, Candace Glover, etc.

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  14. I can see both sides of the story, but side with the winner. I read somewhere that the contract is for 7 years. That can’t be true, right? It is true 19E did not treat all their winners equally. I hope this can be worked out before going to court. Idol needs good press. This is not good.

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