Latest News – Pitchfork by Jazz Monroe
Earlier this month, a lawsuit was filed over missing royalties owed to Tame Impala. BMG, the rights management organization that handles the band’s music, sought damages of at least $450,000 from Tame Impala’s former label, Modular, and the label’s founder, Steve “Pav” Pavlovic, along with Universal Music Group and Universal Music Australia. (Pavlovic says that his share is “a fraction of what has been reported in the press.”) Now, following alegal victory for UMA that integrates Modular further into the Universal group, Pavlovic has told Billboard that BMG is dropping its lawsuit.
Pavlovic, who was behind Modular releases by the Avalanches, Cut Copy, and many more, says the delayed payments stemmed from a misunderstanding about the statutory process in the U.S. He added that, in the past week, the sum due to BMG has finally been calculated, and that their case would subsequently be withdrawn.
Elsewhere, though, proceedings between Modular and Universal are still live. Pavlovic says the dispute revolves around whether an unsigned settlement agreement between the two companies is presently binding. Speaking about Universal’s efforts since late 2013 to acquire his shares in Modular, Pavlovic says:
After months of negotiating the settlement agreement which sorted out all of the issues between us I deliberated about signing and then thought better of it at the last minute. I had felt bullied into agreeing the terms and then got my second wind and stood up to say ‘no’. Universal claimed that I agreed to sign and that this was legally binding and that therefore the deed is in effect.
Later in the interview, Pavlovic says:
I owned up of my accord to the fact that I had told a Universal executive in an email that I had signed the agreement and that I could see that this was a misrepresentation of the facts given I hadn’t actually yet put my signature on the document. I offered that information as part of my evidence because I was trying to explain the context to the judge. The context was that I was under enormous pressure and strain as an individual bearing the full weight of an international corporation on my back.
Responding to Tame Impala frontman Kevin Parker’s claim that “someone high up spent the money before it got to me,” Pavlovic says:
It is simply not correct to say that Kevin has never received a cent from sales internationally because advances are just that — an advance payment against future royalties and Kevin has been the recipient of considerable international advances from BMG, Universal and Modular.
Pavlovic adds that, as a result of the legal proceedings, he has left Modular.
I took the risk and invested my own money to see [Modular artists] reach a broader audience. But at the end of the day that company was me. I created it. You can take me out of Modular but you can’t take the things that made Modular successful out of me.
Read the full interview at Billboard.
Tame Impala’s new album, Currents, is out July 17.
Watch the band perform “Feels Like We Only Go Backwards” for Pitchfork.tv: