‘Waves’ musician Mr. Probz files $10 million suit against Sony over royalties

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Singer Mr. Probz addresses a news conference in Vienna

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) – Lawyers for Dutch musician Mr. Probz, known for his 2013-14 hit “Waves”, said on Tuesday they have filed a claim worth more than 10 million euros ($9.66 million) against Sony in Amsterdam over royalties the artist argues Sony fraudulently withheld.

Mr. Probz, whose real name is Dennis Stehr, argues that Sony deducted administration and distribution fees from his royalties as they were passed through the company’s subsidiaries, in violation of his contract which specified they should be determined when they were first collected — “at source”.

Sony denied the allegations.

“We categorically dispute the claims made and are in the process of reviewing the summons,” Sony Music Entertainment Netherlands said in an emailed response to Reuters questions.

Mr. Probz has around 5 million monthly listeners on Spotify and the radio edit remix of “Waves” with Robin Schulz has been streamed more than 800 million times. The Waves video has been viewed 500 million times on YouTube.

In a preliminary ruling in 2020, the Amsterdam District Court ordered Sony to return control of Stehr’s music to his company Left Lane BV, and to allow his auditor access to all documents relating to the exploitation of his music from 2013-20.

Pim Keulen, a royalties expert advising Stehr during the legal proceedings, said Sony had not given full access to auditor Grant Thornton. However audits showed that Sony “systematically” wrongly deducted fees leading to underpayment of 3-6% on royalties Left Lane should have received from Spotify, TIDAL, Amazon Music and Deezer among others, he said. ($1 = 1.0356 euros)

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(This story corrects title of Keulen in final paragraph)

(Reporting by Toby Sterling, editing by Ed Osmond)

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