Toni Braxton may be one of the best-selling R&B singers of all time, but her royalty agreement has landed her in hot water.
Despite being one of the best-selling female artists of all time, Toni Braxton has filed for bankruptcy multiple times due to her paltry royalty agreement with LaFace Records.
Braxton only made $2,000 in royalties despite selling 40 million albums worldwide by 1998.
Braxton’s financial troubles continued with canceled Las Vegas concerts and a lawsuit against her former manager.
Toni Braxton has been a successful musician from the moment she joined the scene. Her debut album was a critical and commercial sensation in 1993, and her subsequent releases have led to hits on the R&B and pop charts. Braxton has made a lot of money for a lot of her associates and industry friends, but it hasn’t always translated to personal wealth.
Braxton has filed for bankruptcy multiple times throughout her career, despite being listed as one of the best-selling female artists of all time. It’s a massive discrepancy that’s confused her fans, but it’s one that makes sense the more one looks at the singer’s business dealings and her paltry royalty agreement with LaFace Records.
Toni Braxton Filed For Bankruptcy In 1998 After Revealing She Only Made $2K In Royalties
Toni Braxton was unstoppable during the first decade of her career. Every single she put out charted on either the Billboard Hot 100 or R&B/Hip-Hop Songs charts, and she even played Belle in an acclaimed Broadway production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in 1998.
Things came to a screeching halt, however, when Braxton filed for bankruptcy. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the singer was only making $2,000 in royalties despite having sold 40 million albums worldwide by 1998. She also attempted to sue Vista and LaFace Records after failing to renegotiate a second, more lucrative recording contract.
The lawsuit, which posited that Braxton should be given higher royalty rates, led to public derision and a particularly awkward appearance on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” in which she was accused of having frivolous spending habits
Braxton recounted Winfrey’s hostile remarks during an episode of “MTV’s Behind the Music”:
“She was so frickin’ mean to me, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe it because I loved her so much… She pretty much reprimanded me. [She said] ‘I hear you have Gucci flatware; I’m Oprah Winfrey and I don’t have Gucci flatware.’ She made me feel this big.”
Braxton’s lawsuit led Vista and LaFace Records to file a countersuit that claimed she was in breach of contract. The conflict was eventually settled out of court, according to BET, and the singer was given $22 million. She was, however, legally prohibited from talking about it for ten years.
Braxton signed a second contract with Vista and LaFace Records in 2000, under which she released her third album “The Heat.” The album went 2x Platinum and spawned the Top 10 single “He Wasn’t Man Enough.”