Lukasz “Dr. Luke” Gottwald won’t be judging season 13 of American Idol after all.
Dr. Luke was among the last candidates to join the singing competition, following a months-long search for a third judge. Luke was said to be in talks after will.i.am turned down the judging gig to return to the UK version of The Voice.
But according to the Hollywood Reporter, Dr. Luke ran into a problem with Sony Music. The company signed the producer to a lucrative deal in 2011, but Sony’s competitor, Universal Music Group, holds the exclusive rights to American Idol‘s recordings. Naturally, letting Dr. Luke spend months judging the competition and then developing the artists for another label wouldn’t make a lot of sense for Sony.
Epic Records CEO L.A. Reid had a similar problem when he was in the running to join the competition prior to season 10. Epic is a division of Sony Music, which led to Reid signing with with The X Factor instead. The Idol competitor has a music recording partnership with Sony. L.A. Reid left X Factor after two years.
An insider said that Dr. Luke realized the commitment to American Idol would take up too much of his time.
“He really loves his artists and wants to build up the label,” the source said. “Luke wants to build an entertainment company… after a lot of conversations, both Luke and Sony Music CEO Doug Morris came to the mutual agreement that taking Dr. Luke out of the Idol running “was the best thing for all parties.”
Dr. Luke partnered with Sony Music to create Kemosabe Records in November 2011. As part of the partnership, he can only produce records for Sony artists until 2016. The deal also gave Sony exclusive rights to Dr. Luke’s services as a producer until 2016.
Dr. Luke has produced Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and “My Life Would Suck Without You,” Pink’s “Who Knew,” and Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl.” He also signed an 18-year-old Ke$ha to Kemosabe in 2005.