Deadmau5 Settles Longstanding Dispute With Former Label Over Back Catalog

Play Records agrees to stop releasing unauthorized remixes and mashups of the EDM superstar’s early releases.

by Benjamin Boles
May 5 2016, 4:05pm

Photo via Wikipedia Commons

Canadian electronic producer Deadmau5 (AKA Joel Zimmerman) has finally reached an agreement with his former label Play Records over the use of some of his early back catalogue, bringing to an end a legal battle that started back in 2007, according to Hollywood Reporter.

The Toronto label have agreed to stop releasing new remixes and mashups of his early recordings, although they still retain the rights to more than 100 of Zimmerman's productions from 2006 to 2008. The producer had originally asked for tens of millions of dollars in damages in his original statement of claim, but it appears that the dispute has been settled "amicably," with the label agreeing to stop reworking the songs they own.

The saga began back in early 2006, when Deadmau5 was approached to do five remixes of two songs by Play Records owner Melleny Melody. After completing those remixes, Melody convinced Zimmerman to sign a publishing deal, as well as a personal management agreement. Their business relationship quickly went sour though, as the producer's career suddenly started taking off based on the music he was releasing on his own label, and he began to make connections with a larger management company, 24 Management.

In order to get out of his management deal with Melody, Zimmerman agreed in 2008 to sign over ownership of his recordings and compositions prior to 2008, including his first big hit "Faxing Berlin." He also paid the label owner an undisclosed amount of money to be released from the contract.

Play Records ended up attempting to contest and reopen that settlement agreement though, and it wasn't until 2015 that those efforts were abandoned. In the meantime, the label released various mashups and remixes of old Deadmau5 material, without approval from Zimmerman.

According to the statement of claim, those releases were "not of good technical and commercial quality," and damaged the producer's brand. It went on to say that these remixes prejudiced "Zimmerman's honor and reputation by distorting, mutilating or otherwise modifying his original work," and that he sought to "remain anonymous and not be associated with these bastardizations of his works."

THUMP reached out to Deadmau5's lawyers for comment and will update this post with further information.