Kesha’s Billboard Awards Cancellation Suggests the Musician Is Still Very Much at the Mercy of Dr. Luke’s Label


In case you were questioning the extent to which the rulings in the Kesha case — in which a New York judge denied nearly every aspect of Kesha’s requests for a break from her contract with her alleged assaulter’s label, Kemosabe Records — still make her not at all “free” as an artist (regardless of what Dr. Luke’s lawyer may have alleged), the following news seems pretty telling. Billboard reports that Kesha’s rumored performance at the upcoming Billboard Music Awards has been cancelled, because approval has been “rescinded” by Kemosabe.

Though, indeed, Kesha isn’t required to record with Dr. Luke himself, she’s still contracted to record under the approval of the Kemosabe label; even the track she released with Zedd (a re-recording of “True Colors,” one of his earlier songs) was made with the approval of the Sony subsidiary, as the New York Times reported. Zedd had taken to Twitter — after people likely wondered how Kesha had seemingly recorded following the news of the rulings in the trials — to clarify that they hadn’t used any “loopholes.” And, clearly, her performances also need their approval (though, as EW notes, she recently was able to perform the Lady Gaga track “Til it Happens to You” at the Humane Society Gala Ball). Dick clark productions — the company that produces the Billboard Music Awards — wrote in a statement today:

Kesha accepted an invitation to perform on the show and she received written approval from Dr. Luke’s record label, Kemosabe Records. Kemosabe subsequently rescinded its approval following a media report on Wednesday May 11 regarding Kesha’s appearance on the BBMAs. Unfortunately, Kesha and Kemosabe have since been unable to come to an agreement for Kesha to perform on the show. Dick clark productions has a long standing relationship with Kesha. We hope that the parties can come to an arrangement such that we can continue that long standing relationship with a performance by Kesha on the Billboard Music Awards stage on May 22nd.