Legal Breakdown of why Quincy Turned Down Role on Empire

 

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“The Lucious Lyon I knew would tell those idiots the streets aren’t made for everybody. That’s why they made sidewalks.” -Cookie Lyon

Every Wednesday night,  Cookie Lyon on FOX’s hit show Empire shows us that the entertainment industry is not for the faint of heart and to succeed you have to be tough and constantly on your hustle.  Apparently, hip-hop mogul Diddy has taught his adopted son, Quincy how to maneuver in these streets.

Quincy stopped by Power 105’s The Breakfast Club and spilled the tea on why he turned down the role of Hakeem on “Empire.” Quincy explained to Charlamagne Tha God, Angela Yee and DJ Envy, I pretty much booked the role. Dealing with a show like that, it breaks down theatrically and musically. Theatrically, there were no complaints. They didn’t really let me know that there was a music side that came with a contract. It just took everybody for a loop because we wanted to negotiate and change a couple of things and they were like, ‘nah.’”

According to Page Six, “Diddy kicked up a huge stink and called all the top brass at 20th Century Fox TV to get them to change their rules over music rights. He said there was no way his son was signing over his intellectual property.”

Actors on Empire are required to sign over music rights to the network. FOX benefits from the exploitation of music from the show, since it owns all the publishing and copyrights to the material.  The network has partnered with Columbia Records to distribute music from the show on iTunes and Spotify.

FOX is definitely profiting from the sale of music from the show. “Keep Your Money” performed by Jussie Smollett’s character Jamal, made it to the 99 spot on the Billboard Top 100 Songs for the week of February 28, 2015. With Diddy “It’s All About the Benjamins.” Naturally, he would want his son to participate in the profit sharing of any music that Quincy performed or wrote for the show.

In the entertainment industry it is all about the deals. The fewer people that are required to sign off on a deal the faster a deal can close.  It is common for networks and television producers to insist on retaining ownership of all original music created for a show because it make it easier for them to negotiate distribution contracts for the music.  They do not have to go back to the artist to obtain releases and licenses to exploit the music on iTunes, commercials and other mediums.

Quincy’s other problem was with the 360 clause in the in the actor agreement for Empire.   Under this clause, FOX would have received a percentage of the profits he generated from the sale of all of the music he created, his merchandising, and any endorsement deals he obtained.  The rationale behind a 360 clause is that if it was not for the resources of the network or record label, the artist would not have been able to secure these other deals.

You have to respect a man who tells a major network “I don’t need it. You can keep your money,” because he believes in his own talent and the potential of his music.

 

 In case you are wondering, I am definitely #TeamCookie.  Catch #Empire on @FOXtv on Wednesday nights at 8pm CST.