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July 9, 2012
Def Leppard to Record Label: No!
Boingboing pointed me to this story on Billboard
about how the band Def Leppard
are still sticking it to 'the Man'. In this case the "Man" is their (uncooperative, theiving, Cartel-member) conglomerate Universal Music Group.
The members of Def Leppard assert that UMG is screwing them over compensation for digital downloads - details aren't given. Since UMG won't cooperate, but controls the band's back catalog, the band has first of all given the label a flat "no" to anything the label wants to do with Leppard's music. UMG may own the rights, but the band's contract apparently requires their approval and they're just flat-out refusing to give it.
What makes it more amusing is that Leppard then took it one step further, by going back into the studio and singing themselves "into a certain throat shape" in order to produce "forgeries" of their own back catalog. These forgeries then serve as a digital substitute for the back catalog that UMG holds, but which is now rendered worthless.
According to the Billboard story the two re-recorded
albums tracks have sold about 26,000 copies so far which isn't a lot but my guess is that all the profits from those sales are going to the band, making it far more profitable for them than whatever pittance UMG wanted to dole out.
When Dave Lowery first started getting ranty about the new digital music scene he made sure to note that he is involved in lawsuits with two of the big Cartel labels. Maybe he should take a page from Leppard's book.
(ETA: commenter Phil S noted that the forgeries so far are just two tracks, not entire albums. That's less cool in that most of Leppard's back catalog remains unavailable by legal digitized means, but cooler for them in that they have 26,000 sales of just two tracks. Even if the others sell at the lower 5,000 downloads/track rate they could see significant income from the work.)
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