EMI ORDERED TO SHELL OUT £300,000 AFTER BLUR ALBUMS ROW

Dave Balfe, immortalised in song as having a "very big house in the country", and wife Helen will be able to buy an even bigger place now...

DAVID and HELEN BALFE were awarded £300,000 today (March 7), after a judge at the HIGH COURT in LONDON ruled that EMI owed them royalties from releases by BLUR and SHAMPOO.

As reported on NME.COM yesterday, David and Helen Balfe, owned 75 per cent of the shares in Food Records Ltd when it was sold to EMI in 1994.

Under the terms of the agreement, they were entitled to £475,000, plus a payment of royalties on the sales of up to two albums from each artist signed to Food, including Blur and Shampoo.

The dispute was over from which albums they would be entitled to royalties. The first Blur album from which they were entitled to royalties was 1995’s ‘The Great Escape’, which sold 2.14 million copies in 57 countries. EMI claimed that the second was ‘Blur Live At Budokan’, which had a restricted release in Japan and 13 other countries, but was never released in the UK or USA, and sold 80,000 copies.

The Balfes contested that the second qualifying album should be ‘Blur’, which sold 2.4 million copies in 50 countries.

Similarly, EMI claimed that Shampoo’s ‘Delicious’, a Japan-only release which contained re-recordings of songs from their first album, ‘We Are Shampoo’, was their second album. The Balfes contested that ‘Shampoo Or Nothing’, also known as ‘Girl Power’, which was released in the UK and around the world as their second album, should apply.

Their QC Robert Englehart said: “To the ordinary member of the record-buying public in the UK, ‘The Great Escape’ would obviously be the first and ‘Blur’ the second available after 12 April 1994. Such a person would hardly describe ‘Blur Live At Budokan’ as the second Blur album, when he would never have had the opportunity of buying it in a record shop here, and probably would never have heard of it.”

Judge Boggis dismissed EMI’s argument that the albums contained new material, saying: “It flies in the face of the wording of the clause and it lacks commercial reality.” He awarded the Balfes £250,000 in royalties and £50,000 in costs.

However, in those countries where ‘Blur Live At Budokan’ and ‘Delicious’ were released, the Balfes will be paid royalties for those albums, not for ‘Blur’ and ‘Shampoo Or Nothing’.