Modular Founder Pavlovic ‘Vindicated’ By Court Wins

Steve Pavlovic, who set up the record label and tour promoter company Modular, says he feels “vindicated” after two court wins. 

Photo: John Davisson
Sasquatch! Music Festival, Gorge Amphitheatre, Quincy, Wash.

Pavlovic’s 18-year Modular discovered global success stories including Tame Impala, Wolfmother and The Avalanches. It went into a 50:50 partnership with Universal Music Australia.

By last year their relationship had disintegrated, and Universal sent out a series of agreements by which Pavlovic would leave after December 2014. He refused to sign the final agreement. The Supreme Court of NSW found for Universal, arguing that even though the document was not signed, both sides negotiated as if it was and Pavlovic’s lawyer indicated he was about to. But the NSW Court of Appeal unanimously overturned that decision Oct. 6, saying a binding agreement was not reached.

As a result, Pavlovic remains a director and 50 percent shareholder of Modular Records Pty Ltd. He stated, “My position has been vindicated” and apologised to his roster for being “caught in the crossfire.” In another win, the Southern District Court of New York dismissed BMG’s quest to recover mechanical royalties (worth $1 million) for Tame Impala’s overseas sales.

Pavlovic said, “I’m pleased that the misunderstanding about the U.S. statutory rate for calculation of mechanical royalties has been resolved” and slammed the “completely inaccurate and out of hand” media reports of the case.