Tame Impala Could Be Missing Even More Royalties

New reporting suggests the band may be out close to $1 Million.

June 03, 2015

Update, 6/8/2015, 9:00 AM: The Australian suggests that Tame Impala is actually missing more money than the suit filed last week by BMG initially suggested. While BMG is suing for at least $450,000, new sources suggest that Tame Impala may be owed an additional $350,000 to $400,000.

Pavlovic also recently issued a statement about the law suit through his lawyers. He disputes Universal's claim that he is solely responsible for missing royalties. "Mr Pavlovic accepts that his American company was responsible for the payment of royalties for the period that his company was distributing the Tame Impala works in the USA, but not for the period since Universal Music Group began distributing those works… It is not clear at this stage whether BMG is claiming any unpaid royalties relating to the period in which Mr Pavlovic’s company was distributing Tame Impala records." In addition, Pavlovic "does not accept liability for any failure by Universal Music Group or its subsidiaries to make royalty payments to BMG."

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FADER cover stars Tame Impala are on the verge of releasing a highly-anticipated third album, but unfortunately they also have to worry about a legal dispute: Billboard reports that BMG has filed a suit against Modular Recordings, Modular-founder Steve Pavlovic, Universal Music Australia, and Universal Music Group "seek[ing] legal and injunctive relief for copyright infringement" related to two albums and an EP released by Tame Impala.

In simple terms, this is a dispute over royalties. Section 4 of the legal document declares that BMG, which owns the rights to Tame Impala's "musical compositions," set up a series of licensing agreements with Modular which required the label to pay them royalties within a certain time frame after the end of each quarter. BMG claims they notified Modular of their failure to comply with the terms of this agreement in February and estimates that Modular now at least $450,000 of unpaid royalties from the sales of Tame Impala recordings.

However, Universal told Billboard that BMG is barking up the wrong tree. "No documents relating to the legal claim have been served on Universal Music Australia or Modular Recordings," the company noted in a statement. What's more, Universal "totally reject[s] the claim made by BMG that they are in any way liable for unpaid mechanical royalties relating to the band Tame Impala. Universal Music Australia and Modular Recordings were not involved in contracting with BMG over mechanicals for sales of Tame Impala recordings in the United States."

Universal believes Pavlovic is solely responsible for the missing royalties: "A totally separate US registered company—owned and operated by Mr Pavlovic—is responsible for contracting with BMG and for any mechanicals liability." Universal also noted that Pavlovic "has confirmed that this matter has nothing to do with Universal Music Australia or Modular Recordings in Australia," but Billboard was unable to contact him to confirm this.


The third Tame Impala record, Currents, is due out July 17. Read FADER's cover story on Tame Impala here, and watch their interview with FADER tv below.

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Lead Image: Karl Walter / Getty Images

Tame Impala Could Be Missing Even More Royalties