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Doobie Brothers Singer Michael McDonald Alleges Conspiracy by Major Record Labels

Michael McDonald
Rick Diamond, Getty Images

Former Doobie Brothers singer Michael McDonald is suing the band’s longtime label in an attempt to get more money for masters licensed to third-party music downloaders such as iTunes and Amazon. According to Billboard, the white-haired vocalist wants 50 percent of receipts instead of 12-20 percent.

The Doobie Brothers released nine albums on Warner Brothers between 1971 and 1980, including McDonald-fronted radio hits like ‘Minute by Minute,’ ‘What a Fool Believes’ and ‘Takin’ It to the Streets.’ Traditional royalties call for the artist to get 12 to 20 percent, but a 2007 case by rapper Eminem against Universal Music Group set a new precedent for digital downloads.

Lawyer Richard S. Busch is at the heart of suits brought by McDonald, as well as artists like Peter Frampton and Kenny Rogers. They’re all looking for 50 percent. Billboard says that Busch is going further by claiming conspiracy amongst major record labels in the suit brought on by McDonald, alleging that together they are trying to deprive artists of proper royalties.

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