'Pop slave' George Michael to fight on

GEORGE MICHAEL said that his career amounted to 'professional slavery' yesterday and vowed to appeal after a High Court judge dismissed his multi- million pound legal action against his record company, Sony Music.

A victory for Michael could have revised entirely the way in which the music industry does business with its stars. But at the conclusion of the 74-day hearing, Mr Justice Jonathan Parker ruled: 'I am satisfied that the terms of the agreement are reasonable and fair.'

Michael, a multi-million-selling solo artist formerly with the duo Wham], alleged during the hearing that Sony Music thwarted his attempt to move from heart-throb to serious artist.

He claimed Sony 'killed' his 1990 album Listen Without Prejudice Volume One by under-marketing it after he declined to put his face on the sleeve and to appear in promotional videos. Seeking a 'divorce' from Sony, he disputed the length of his 1988 contract on the grounds of restraint of trade. Michael sat impassively through the judge's 10- minute summary.

Mr Justice Parker's six-page Summary of Judgment was distilled from his full 270-page judgment. He said Michael had re-negotiated his deal with Sony at several stages, had access to expert legal advice and had achieved contractual parity with other music industry superstars.

Immediately after the verdict, Michael, surrounded by minders and handlers, issued a statement. He pointed out that he had first signed with CBS records when he was 18. Now, at 30, his contract still has 10 years to run. In the meantime, in 1988, CBS was taken over by Sony, a multinational company with whom he felt little sympathy.

Michael, whose wealth is said to amount to pounds 70m, faces costs unofficially estimated at pounds 3m. They are likely to be decided in court tomorrow.

In his full summary, Mr Justice Parker praises Michael as articulate and intelligent, but calls into question the role played by his manager, Rob Kahane, whom he called a 'thoroughly unreliable and untrustworthy witness'.

Sony Music Entertainment Inc said: 'We have great respect for George Michael and his artistry, and look forward to continuing our relationship with him.' However, Michael had promised during the hearing that if he lost, he would never record again.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Intervention Teacher Required To Start ASAP.

£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...

Tradewind Recruitment: Maths Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...

Recruitment Genius: PHP / Drupal / SaaS Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...

Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...

Day In a Page

Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

Greece elections

In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

Front National family feud?

Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
Woman who was sent to three Nazi death camps describes how she escaped the gas chamber

Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary

Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

The inside track on France's trial of the year

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
As provocative now as they ever were

Sarah Kane season

Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy