Music label TVT Records to file for bankruptcy

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Former high-flying label TVT Records, home to such hip-hop artists as Lil Jon, Pitbull and Ying Yang Twins, will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week, the company’s founder said Tuesday.

Founded by Steve Gottlieb in his New York apartment in 1985, TVT achieved success after releasing music by rock acts Nine Inch Nails and KMFDM. In recent years, the label has focused on hip-hop.

But TVT has also been embroiled in legal battles, including a suit against Island Def Jam over a Ja Rule album that IDJ prevented TVT from releasing in 2003. The initial ruling awarded TVT $132 million in damages, but the figure was substantially reduced on appeal.

TVT also battled Miami label Slip-n-Slide over rights to a Pitbull album, eventually losing and being ordered to pay compensatory damages of almost $2.3 million and punitive damages of over $6.8 million.

Just a few weeks ago, Pitbull lashed out at TVT in an interview with Los Angeles radio station KPWR, claiming it didn’t properly promote his new album, “The Boatlift.” He said he was working “like a slave” to promote the album, and urged his fans to boycott it.

There is no word on a possible release date for Lil Jon’s new album, “Crunk Rock,” which has been delayed numerous times, or forthcoming releases from any of the label’s acts.

Gottlieb, who is TVT’s president, told “This is not the end of TVT.”

According to a source close to the situation, a video was just shot for a new Pitbull single, “Anthem,” and there’s also a new Ying Yang Twins single, “Drop,” on iTunes.