Artist News Business News Labels & Publishers Legal

Martin Garrix wins legal battle with Spinnin Records

By | Published on Thursday 21 September 2017

Martin Garrix

A Dutch court has sided with producer Martin Garrix in a legal dispute with his former label and management firm – Spinnin Records and MusicAllstars respectively – both of which were founded by Eelko Van Kooten.

As previously reported, Garrix announced in August 2015 that he was parting company with both of Van Kooten’s businesses. He subsequently went legal, accusing his former manager of having provided “false and misleading information” when Garrix, as a teenager, had signed his deals with Van Kooten’s companies.

The producer also alleged that, by signing an artist he managed to his own label, Van Kooten had had a conflict of interest, and had put together a label deal that was in his own interests, rather than those of his client, ie Garrix.

In the original lawsuit, Garrix sought to get back the sound recording rights that had been assigned to Spinnin Records via his label deal as well as 4.35 million euros in damages. The label then countersued over Garrix ending his ties with the Spinnin companies, claiming that in doing so the producer had cost them over 6.4 million euros in revenue

Elements of the dispute were settled out of court in December 2015, but some of the litigation remained, in particular whether Garrix’s contracts with Van Kooten’s companies were still valid or not. If they were, Spinnin could demand damages, if not Garrix could seek payment from his former business partners.

Yesterday a court in the Netherlands basically ruled in Garrix’s favour, by agreeing that Van Kooten had indeed had a conflict of interest when he signed an artist he managed to his own record company. Judges noted that the Spinnin Records founder could have overcome that conflict by involving a third party arbiter, but did not.

Needless to say, Garrix has welcomed that judgement, positioning his battle with Van Kooten’s companies as being a battle for artist rights. The producer said in a statement: “I am happy with this outcome. Not only for myself but also for all other DJs/producers out there, since this case was not only about me, but about all of us artists”.

The ruling comes less than two weeks after Warner Music announced that it had acquired dance label Spinnin and its sister companies, including MusicAllstars. Van Kooten also announced he was leaving the business following that acquisition. A spokesperson for the label said the company was now reviewing this week’s ruling before deciding whether or not to appeal. Meanwhile, Garrix’s claim to damages is still to be assessed.