Esperanza Spalding Sued Over ‘Radio Music Society’ Cover Art
Photographer Kevin Ryan claims photo images were his work
Bassist and vocalist Esperanza Spalding is the target of a lawsuit filed by photographer Kevin Ryan, who claims that the cover art for Spalding’s Grammy-winning 2012 album Radio Music Society appropriated images he created. Ryan is seeking $500,000 in damages.
According to several online news reports based on a published report by the New York Post, Ryan purports that the 1980s-style boombox upon which Spalding is sitting on the album cover is actually a wooden box covered with photographs that he took. According to the article in the Post, Spalding saw the faux boombox at the Galapagos Art Space in Brooklyn, N.Y., and used it without crediting him. Ryan says that a sculptor friend, Ryan Humphrey, had attached the photos to the front of the box and displayed it at the gallery.
Ryan has been quoted as saying that Spalding’s representatives ignored his requests for credit. Variations on the artwork have since been used in advertisements and merchandise associated with the recording.
Radio Music Society won two Grammys earlier this month, for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s) for the track “City of Roses,” and for Best Vocal Jazz Album.