On June 30, at 11 AM EDT, Dr. Dre’s first album Chronic (1992) will make its digital debut with the official launch of Apple Music. Prior to this, Dr. Dre’s debut LP has not been available on any streaming service such as Spotify, Rdio, or even Beats Music.
For a long time, many have wondered why this album has not been available on any of these platforms and the answer may lie in legal troubles. Just over a year ago, Dr. Dre filed a lawsuit against his former record label Death Row Records, claiming that he was not receiving the appropriate royalties for the digital sales of Chronic. Furthermore, Dre also charged the label with sampling tracks from the album in compilations with other artists without consulting him first. This legal battle was only settled in April of this year, with a U.S. District Judge ruling in favor of Dre. As of today, Dr. Dre owns all the legal rights to Chronic and makes one hundred percent of the proceeds from the digital sale of the album.
Dre has also been involved in other lawsuits against Priority Records and Death Row relating to the ownership of his work as well. In 1999, these labels released an LP titled The Chronic 2000, undoubtedly similar to Dr. Dre’s The Chronic 2001, released earlier that year. Dre sued the labels with multiple charges ranging from breach of contract to false designation of origin and trademark infringement. In addition, in 2014, Dre filed a $3.05 million lawsuit against the Death Row for unpaid royalties during the time that the record label was under Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, the judge dismissed this case on the grounds that Dre could not use a contract signed before the bankruptcy period to claim funds after this period.
Now that Dre’s legal battles are all over, many fans are quite excited for Chronic’s release on Apple Music. However, critics wonder if the album will be as popular on the streaming service as it was at the time it was first released. Some speculate that since listeners have not been able to hear the album on Spotify (or the like), it will quickly become a fan-favorite on Apple Music and will draw customers to the new service. In this case, only time will tell.