The company that sponsored Travis Scott’s “Wake Up” music video featuring the Weeknd claims Sony’s Epic Records still owes it nearly $200,000, new court papers show.
Smuggler, Inc. finalized its bid with Epic on April 19, 2019, to make the music video — which was shot in the house featured in “The Godfather” — for $749,000, despite attempts by Epic to get the price down to $600,000, the Manhattan Supreme Court lawsuit says.
The Los Angeles-based production company told it was paid the first installment of $561,766 but Epic refused to pay the second installment of $187,255 even though the video was released on July 25, 2019, has had over 40 million views and is still publicly viewable, the court papers claim.
But Epic made a false claim that it was unhappy with the final product, saying the video didn’t have certain effects — which weren’t included in the contract — in order to renegotiate the price and to even try to cancel the agreement after the video had already been released for three weeks, the court documents allege.
Scott and his team were happy with the video, with Scott’s manager saying in a group email on May 6, 2019, that an initial cut of the video “Looks fire!” And “the director received messages indicating that Mr. Scott was happy with the video as it was,” the court papers say.
Smuggler believes “that Epic never had the intention to pay Smuggler the final payment as promised and stated in the agreement, and that it looked for, and fabricated, excuses to try to reduce the contract price to an amount below $600,000 as it had repeatedly requested in the negotiations, but which Smuggler repeatedly refused to agree to,” the suit charges.
Adding to it, refusing to pay the rest of the contract price, Epic has since “blacklisted” Smuggler, a fact the company discovered in August 2020 when directors “inexplicably pulled” out of two jobs that Smuggler was bidding for, the court documents claim.