Tame Impala Royalties Suit

Australian band Tame Impala, which is touring the United States and Europe, is in the middle of a lawsuit over unpaid royalties of up to A$1 million ($761,800).

Photo: Scott Roth / Invision / AP
Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, Empire Polo Field, Indio, Calif.

Its publisher BMG Rights Management filed suit in U.S. Federal Court accusing Aussie record label boss Steve Pavlovic, his Sydney-based label Modular Recordings and label partner Universal Music Australia of owing A$575,000 ($450,000) in unpaid royalties from an EP and two albums. It alleges the money went into a U.S. company belonging to Pavlovic.

Australian media since reported a further $350,000 to $400,000 in royalties on overseas sales could also be in dispute. Universal distanced itself from Pavlovic, saying he was no longer an employee and claimed it should not be part of the BMG lawsuit. On June 4, the NSW Supreme Court heard a trademark dispute between Pavlovic and Universal Music over the Modular name. Pavlovic’s law firm, Levitt Robinson, responded that their client’s U.S. company held Impala’s license “until about January last year” after which Universal assumed liability for mechanical royalties.

Tame Impala leader Kevin Parker in April claimed he received “zero dollars” from sales outside Australia. He wrote on a Reddit AMA, “Someone high up spent the money before it got to me. I may never get that money.”