Popovich Fights For Meat Loaf
A record exec is continuing his longtime battle with
Steve Popovich stunned his East Coast colleagues in 1976 by resigning from CBS Records to start his own label, Cleveland International Records, in Ohio. The company was only months old when it decided to take a chance on a unique new artist calling himself Meat Loaf.
Following his departure from CBS, Popovich agreed to point out new acts to the major label. If CBS chose to produce and market the music, it would include Cleveland International’s logo on the product.
Popovich convinced CBS to release Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell on Epic in the fall of 1977. The album went platinum in a rush and is among the best-selling records of all time.
Meat Loaf’s follow-up album faltered, however, and Popovich struggled to find another star for his label. Cleveland International folded in 1982 and Popovich went to work for Polygram Records in Nashville.
Meanwhile, he and Meat Loaf grew disgruntled with their royalty payments and decided to investigate. An auditor concluded they were owed about $20 million so, in 1995, Popovich sued Sony, which had acquired CBS.
Three years later, Sony paid $6.7 million to Popovich and his former label partners to settle the royalties lawsuit. Sony also agreed to put Cleveland International’s logo on re-releases of Bat Out of Hell and other albums.
Then Meat Loaf filed a complaint of his own. The singer sued Sony and Cleveland International, claiming Popovich’s company failed to collect his money from Sony.
Sony settled with Meat Loaf, giving him and his songwriter up to $9 million and signing the singer to a new recording contract in exchange for his testimony against Popovich. Sony eventually settled with the record exec, too.
However, in 2002, Popovich sued again, claiming Sony failed to live up its end of the logo agreement, costing him millions.
In essence, Popovich reportedly claims that Cleveland International should have its logo included wherever Sony’s appears on certain Meat Loaf albums and hundreds of other records that include at least one Meat Loaf song.
Sony has argued that it is only required to put the logo on certain Meat Loaf albums that it manufactures and that it only manufactures in the United States.
Now, the two are set to meet in court again this April to determine if Sony failed to put the label’s logo on millions of records.
“I deeply resent the lack of respect for history,” Popovich told The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. “I want something that my grandkids can say, ‘Yeah, my grandfather did that.'”
According to court documents from the latest case, Sony claims Popovich is trying to milk more money out of them by trumping up the logo agreements. Besides, the company’s lawyers contend, Sony has starting putting the logo where Popovich wanted it, so the matter should be moot.