Allman Brothers Strike Again, New Lawsuit Emerges

  • Save

The Allman Brothers, one of the most iconic southern rock bands of all time, are currently in the midst of a $13 million lawsuit against Universal Music Group (UMG), according to court documents that recently surfaced. The lawsuit specifically targets UMG Recordings and focuses on the exploitation of masters recorded with Capricorn Records between 1969 and 1980.

The group first signed a contract with PolyGram in the 80s, which was later absorbed by Universal. The band is no stranger to legal battles, having been involved in numerous lawsuits over the years. However, this recent suit alleges improper payouts on CDs, but it also calls for a 50 percent royalty on digital and mobile formats. These assets were not specified in the original contract, which allocated payouts of one-half on unnamed formats.

The complaint reads, “UMG incurs practically no expenses or risks in connection with the Masters, particularly with respect to licensing other companies such as Apple to create and distribute digital downloads… yet UMG reaps millions of dollars every year from such exploitation.” The Allman Brothers are not alone in their claims against UMG, as other artists have also accused the company of failing to properly compensate them for their work.

The lawsuit is a reminder of the ongoing struggle for fair compensation in the music industry. In recent years, artists and labels alike have been grappling with the shift towards digital music consumption and streaming services. While these platforms have made music more accessible than ever before, they have also created new challenges for artists seeking to earn a living from their work.

One of the biggest issues facing musicians today is the so-called “value gap,” which refers to the disparity between the amount of money generated by digital music platforms and the amount paid out to artists and copyright holders. According to a recent report by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), the global music industry generated $21.5 billion in 2020, with streaming accounting for 62.1 percent of total revenues. However, many artists argue that they are not receiving a fair share of these profits, and that streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music are profiting at their expense.

The situation is made more complex by the fact that different platforms pay out different rates, and that the amount paid to artists can vary depending on a number of factors, such as the length of a song and the number of plays it receives. This has led to calls for greater transparency and fairness in the music industry, as well as for reforms to copyright laws and royalty structures.

For their part, UMG has not commented on the Allman Brothers’ lawsuit, but the company has previously defended its practices and emphasized its commitment to supporting artists. In a statement released in response to criticism from the music industry, UMG CEO Lucian Grainge wrote, “We are committed to ensuring that artists and songwriters are compensated fairly for their work, and that our industry is a place where creativity can thrive.”

Despite these assurances, however, the fight for fair compensation in the music industry is likely to continue for years to come. As streaming becomes an increasingly dominant force in the world of music, artists and labels will need to work together to find new ways to ensure that creators are fairly compensated for their work.