In the aftermath of the sexual assault allegations against PWR BTTM’s Ben Hopkins, the queer-punk duo’s music was removed from streaming services. Now, in the first statement we’ve heard from PWR BTTM since they strongly contested the allegations last month, a representative of the band has announced that their debut album Ugly Cherries is returning to streaming platforms starting today.
Furthermore, they’re working with veteran music executive Lisa Barbaris — who once worked for labels including Elektra, Asylum, and Nonesuch and currently manages Cyndi Lauper — as well as attorney Jeffrey Koenig in an attempt to reclaim the rights to sophomore album Pageant from Polyvinyl Records. The statement explains, “As a fan of PWR BTTM’s music, Barbaris was appalled at the response of the band’s labels in withdrawing music and support so hastily.” The statement also asserts, “As of now, Polyvinyl has not presented any viable plan to the band to make the music on Pageant available to their fans.” Read the full statement below.
PWR BTTM’s LP Ugly Cherries will be made available digitally as of Tuesday, June 13. This LP, originally released by Father/Daughter Records, and the May 2017 release Pageant were pulled from stores and streaming services last month when the band’s current and past record labels dropped them as a result of an anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct.
This allegation followed rumors that began to circulate two days before the planned release of PWR BTTM’s breakthrough album Pageant, which had garnered early acclaim from Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, Billboard, The FADER, and NPR Music and had been named one of the “most anticipated albums of 2017″ by The A.V. Club, Stereogum, and more. The band released a statement contesting the claims. Still, the band’s 36-city tour remained canceled and their music remained unavailable on virtually every digital platform.
Veteran label exec and music manager Lisa Barbaris is currently working with PWR BTTM. Barbaris was Director of Press and Artist Relations for Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch Records before opening So What Management in 1994 and becoming manager for Cyndi Lauper, working with her on numerous tours and recordings plus her debut as a Broadway composer with Kinky Boots. As a fan of PWR BTTM’s music, Barbaris was appalled at the response of the band’s labels in withdrawing music and support so hastily.
Attorney Jeffrey Koenig of Serling Rooks Hunter McKoy & Worob LLP has been working with PWR BTTM and Barbaris to reclaim the band’s music following the label’s unprecedented move. As of now, Polyvinyl has not presented any viable plan to the band to make the music on Pageant available to their fans.
In further comments to Billboard, Barbaris writes, “To see Polyvinyl derail and potentially destroy the band’s career in such an impulsive manner is very troubling. I’ve never seen a label respond in such an irresponsible way in the 30-plus years I’ve been in the music business.”
A representative from Polyvinyl tells Billboard, “Polyvinyl has been in contact with PWR BTTM’s team to work out a separation, and is waiting for details necessary to make that happen. Polyvinyl wishes to make the transition as easy as possible and has no desire to prevent the band from releasing Pageant once an agreement has been reached.”