Tim McGraw Wins Court Appeal, Is Finally Done w/ Curb Records

September 26, 2012 - By Trigger  //  News  //  15 Comments

On Tuesday (9-25-12), the Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld a lower Chancery Court ruling denying a request by Curb Records to block Tim McGraw signing and recording with another record label. Barring another appeal being accepted by the Tennessee Supreme Court, this means Tim McGraw is finally free from Curb Records, his label for 20 years who tried to keep him perpetually under contract by claiming the material from his final Curb album Emotional Traffic was recorded too soon after his previous album, and by releasing a comical parade of “Greatest Hits” compilations.

The court battle began in May of 2011 when Curb Records sued Tim McGraw for breach of contract. It got even muddier when during the litigation process, McGraw signed with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Records on May 21st, 2012 and announced he’d recorded 20 songs with the label. Curb refused to acknowledge the new signing, asserting that McGraw was still under contract with them and the 20 songs were their intellectual property. Then in a battle of Music Row heavyweights, Curb and Big Machine began releasing competing singles. The courts have since ruled against Curb in a number of smaller decisions leading up to Tuesday’s big decision that should put McGraw’s label status mostly to rest.

“All recordings made after December 1, 2011, belong to McGraw,” the Tennessee Appeals Court ruled. “We find no error in the trial court’s preliminary determination regarding the ownership of masters…We affirm the judgment of the trial court and assess the costs of this appeal against the appellant, Curb Records.”

However Tim McGraw still must navigate the trial hurdle for the original breach of contract issue. Though the courts have ruled that McGraw can now make and release music with a new label, they still must determine if he indeed recorded the music for his last album Emotional Traffic to soon, and if so, what the penalty will be. Curb released a statement after the court ruling, saying in part:

The fundamental issue in this case is whether Tim McGraw fully performed under his contract with Curb Records. That issue has yet to be ruled on by any court, and will be the subject of a full trial on the merits scheduled for later this year.

We respectfully disagree with today’s ruling by the Court of Appeals on that issue, and we intend to continue to pursue this issue, including through the further appeals process as appropriate, in light of the significance of the underlying principles involved.

Those principles include our belief that contracts must be enforced as written, and in particular that exclusive personal services agreements with individuals, such as Mr. McGraw, who possess unique and extraordinary talent, must be subject to enforcement by injunctive relief.

15 Comments to “Tim McGraw Wins Court Appeal, Is Finally Done w/ Curb Records”

  • Well, it seems we’ll see a new album from Tim soon. I hope it’s not more truck yeah’s.


    • sorry – missed your last paragraph


      • I just added it, that’s probably why you didn’t see it. Thanks for the heads up.


        • Speaking of heads… the best part of the link kayla posted above was the link to story in the Tennessean about the woman who attempted to cut off her husband’s head with a Sawzall but when that didn’t work she tried an axe and a mallet. Now that’s what I call country!!!


  • TRUCK YEAH!!!!


  • There seems to be a quiet desperation in Curb’s release. Like he wants to make sure everyone knows he hasn’t lost. It must bug the hell out of him that he doesn’t have McGraw as his hostage during this.


    • I agree. All of Curb’s moves seem to be out of desperation, and the way they justify their moves with such self-righteous language, portraying themselves as the victims is ridiculous. Having said that, I’m guessing they have pretty concrete evidence McGraw recorded the “Emotional Traffic” tracks too early by the letter of the contract, for which McGraw will have to pay some moderate compensation for, which I am sure he is more than happy to do in exchange for his freedom.


      • I was very surprised when McGraw didn’t diss, but made a statement of support for, the Number One Hits cd that Curb issued with a track from his then upcoming Emotional Traffic cd. I believe that something was agreed then about his ET cd release date and Curb then screwed him on it. It’s the only thing that makes sense about him supporting a hits release after having dissed the previous one. There was something about Hannon listening to the masters “under pretense” in the court papers and then McGraw’s insistence that July 23rd was his last day at Curb even though the court hasn’t ruled yet. The actual recording dates may be off, but I bet there’s more to it.


  • 10 bucks says he still sucks.


    • And still be wearing his shiny plastic cowboy hat.


  • Hi there! Are you gonna talk about and review Taylor’s new song? Just curious.. seems like she has gone back to her country roots on this one.


    • It looks like I have somehow come to the point where every single Taylor Swift releases must receive commentary from me. I will try to post something in the coming days.


    • Kate,

      If by “seems like she has gone back to her country roots on this one” you mean “gone back to her country roots for five minutes,” then you’re correct.

      I think every song on her album represents a genre of music. She’s playing the field to everybody. Not that difficult to figure out.


  • Its probably for the best. Tim has changed his style of music, his songs and lyrics have lost touch with country musics true heart and soul. I am an 18 year fan of Tim’s and appreciate the good years he has givin me.


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