The band are allegedly owed £295,000 in missing royalties
Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker has spoken about the recent news that his Australian record labels are being sued over unpaid royalties owed to the band.
It was recently revealed that Modular Recordings and Universal Music Australia are involved in a lawsuit with rights management organisation BMG, with it claimed that the Australian band are owed over $450,000 (£295,000) in royalties. Modular Recordings founder Steve Pavlovic is being sued for allegedly withholding the royalty payments as well as “ignoring legal advice to cease and desist selling operations with regard to Tame Impala’s recordings in the lead-up to finally being served with papers filed with the New York Southern District Court early last month”.
Now, speaking about the court case, Parker has described himself as “surprised” at the news. He told The Music: “When it actually hit the surface, and everyone knew about it, I was as surprised. I didn’t know they were going to sue anyone, I didn’t know there was going to be any suing going on, so I was as surprised and interested as anyone.”
Parker continued: “I knew there was some stuff going on, obviously, and we knew it was going to happen, we knew something was on the horizon… We just didn’t know what was going to happen with it. As far as I was concerned I’d written off that side of things, I’d heard that some money had gone missing, blah blah blah, that’s all I really thought about it.”
The singer also opened the debate on who should receive the income from music sales. He said: “Different people have different opinions on whether it should be owned, physically owned, whether you paid for it, [and] if you got it for free it’s not as valuable as if you paid for it. I guess all I’m saying is the idea that paying for music is important because the artist deserves money for their work. It made me realise my situation is like – in terms of money, I haven’t made any album money, I haven’t made any money from album sales.
“It’s not frustrating, that’s not the word, it’s just… that’s the way it is. It’s one of those things that I accept. To begin with, it’s complicated, it’s so complicated. Put it this way, I’ve had it explained to me a number of times, how the money went missing and where it went and why it went missing, but about 30 seconds into the explanation I’m just lost because there’s a difference between mechanical loyalties and songwriting loyalties.
“It gets extremely technical extremely quickly, and that’s why I’m not that interested in it. I’ve been OK, I’m doing fine, you know, I’m getting by, I can pay for my dinner. In the end, I’m lucky enough to travel the world and make albums, and not have to worry about not having a job. Whilst it is naive that I don’t give a shit about that much money that’s gone missing, I just find it counter-productive to get worked up over it. They’re just gonna battle it out and do their thing, I’m a spectator at this point.”
In a statement released online, Universal Music Australia have claimed that they should never have been named in the lawsuit and that “a totally separate US registered company — owned and operated by Mr Pavlovic — is responsible for contracting with BMG and for any mechanicals liability”.
Universal Music Australia also state that Pavlovic is no longer employed by Modular, home to artists including Cut Copy, Wolfmother and Pond in the past. The lawsuit is expected to go to court in New York later this year.
Tame Impala release their third album ‘Currents’ on July 17 following on from 2012’s ‘Lonerism’ and 2010 debut ‘Innerspeaker’. Frontman Kevin Parker recently spoke to NME about the dance-leaning LP. He stated: “I wanted to make something that from the sound of it could be down at the club. I just realised that I’d never heard Tame Impala played somewhere with a dancefloor or where people were dancing.”
Tame Impala will play a handful of UK and Ireland dates later this year. They are as follows:
Electric Picnic Festival (September 4)
End Of The Road Festival (5)
Glasgow Barrowland (8)
Liverpool Olympia (9)
Isle of Wight Bestival (10)