During a Reddit AMA in April, Kevin Parker noted that, “Up until recently, from all of Tame Impala’s record sales outside of Australia, I had received…. zero dollars. Someone high up spent the money before it got to me.”
It turns out that “someone” could be Modular Recordings founder Steve “Pav” Pavlovic, who is being sued by rights management organization BMG over approximately $450,000USD in royalties that were never paid out to the band. As The Australian reports, Pavlovic is being sued alongside Modular, Universal Music Australia, and a number of other subsidiaries for “not only withholding the substantial royalty payments but ignoring legal advice to cease and desist selling operations with regard to Tame Impala’s recordings in the lead-up to finally being served with papers filed with the New York Southern District Court early last month.”
BMG, who own the publishing rights to Tame Impala’s songs through an agreement with Parker, issued a “mechanical license” to Modular in March 2014, which means that Modular would be allowed to handle distribution for Tame Impala’s early EPs, InnerSpeaker, and Lonerism, but would not own the music itself. The contract stipulated that royalties would be paid out within 45 days for each financial quarter, but BMG is saying that never happened.
Universal Music Australia issued a statement that their company and Modular Recordings should have never been named in the legal claim, and that “a totally separate US registered company — owned and operated by Mr. Pavlovic — is responsible for contracting with BMG and for any mechanicals liability.” They also say that Pavlovic is no longer employed by Modular Recordings. As The Music.com.au points out, an unrelated trademark dispute has been going on between Pavlovic and UMA and Modular since the beginning of this year over the Modular Recordings name.
The case is set to see trial in the New York Southern District Court. Parker is currently signed to Universal Music Australia directly.
If you’re interested in looking at the court documents, you can do so here.