Modular boss sued over missing label money

The founder of Tame Impala’s Australian label Modular Recordings, Steve “Pav” Pavlovic, is being sued by music giant BMG over $US450,000 (roughly $588,000) in unpaid royalties.

According to a report by The Australian, which is hidden behind a paywall but heavily quoted by TheMusic, Pavlovic and Modular co-owner Universal Music Australia are also being accused of ignoring legal advice to cease and desist sales of Tame Impala’s 2008 self-titled EP and InnerSpeaker and Lonerism albums. BMG reportedly owns the intellectual-property rights to the music through a publishing agreement with Tame Impala singer Kevin Parker and had licensed the “mechanical” rights to the songs to Modular who were expected to pay royalties within a 45-day time-frame each quarter. BMG says those royalties have not been paid and lodged paperwork with the New York Southern District Court early last month in a bid to collect the money. Neither Pavlovic or Universal Australia boss George Ash were available for comment on the story.

Tame Impala’s 2012 album Lonerism may have sold over 60,000 copies in the UK and hit #34 on the Billboard chart in America, but frontman Kevin Parker recently revealed that those international sales didn’t make any impression on his bank balance. “Up until recently, from all of Tame Impala’s record sales outside of Australia I had received zero dollars,” Parker told fans in a Reddit AMA in April. “Someone high up spent the money before it got to me. I may never get that money.”

But Parker doesn’t appear to be overly phased by the legal proceedings. In the Reddit AMA session he explained that he doesn’t believe that music needs to have a monetary value. “I feel like music will be free sooner or later, and I think I’m all for it,” he explains. “There’s all this talk of music needing a monetary value, this ownership of music, even that it needs a physical form [but] for me the value of music is the value you extract from it.” But Parker stops short of telling his fans to just download everything in earshot: “This is just my brain rambling remember, I’m sure there are holes in my theories… for example I realise not everyone’s music is suited to a mobile phone ad, and it would be lame if artists tailored their music for that purpose.”

Tame Impala’s third album Currents featuring the tracks Let It Happen, Cause I’m a Man, Disciples and Eventually is scheduled for release on July 17 just a few days before their appearance at Splendour in the Grass.

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