Backstreet Boys Sue Zomba For $75 Million
The Backstreet Boys have filed a $75 million suit against Zomba Recording Corporation, the parent company of Jive Records. The suit, filed yesterday (Nov. 25) in New York District Court, alleges breacThe Backstreet Boys have filed a $75 million suit against Zomba Recording Corporation, the parent company of Jive Records. The suit, filed yesterday (Nov. 25) in New York District Court, alleges breach of contract, intentional interference with contract, trademark infringement, and unfair competition and seeks to void all stipulations remaining from the group's 1994 contract with Zomba.
According to the suit, the Backstreet Boys in November 1999 revised their 1994 contract and committed to releasing two further albums for Zomba. In exchange for delivering them on time as part of a pre-determined schedule, the group would receive multiple non-returnable payments that would serve as advances against future royalties. Included among these was a $5 million payment if the second album (the group's fourth overall) was delivered by April 30, 2002, and featured the participation of all five group members.
The suit says things went awry following the November 2000 release and subsequent tour in support of "Black and Blue," the first album under the revised contract. Once the Backstreet Boys were ready to begin work on their next release, Zomba "refused to actively participate in the selection of songs or producers and rejected, in bad faith, artistic suggestions made by [the group]."
Instead, Zomba turned its attentions to releasing a solo album by group member Nick Carter, making it "impossible for [the group] to deliver a fourth album to Zomba by April 30, 2002, or otherwise. Because of Zomba, Carter was unable and unwilling to participate in any of [the group's] production or recording efforts. Because of these insurmountable roadblocks, [the group] has yet to deliver to Zomba its fourth album."
The suit claims that Zomba forced Carter to "produce, release, and promote a solo album at the expense of his involvement with the band," making lucrative touring impossible and denying the Backstreet Boys' attempt to collect the $5 million payment. Further, the group claims Zomba is unlawfully using the Backstreet Boys' trademark to promote Carter's record. The set in question, "Now or Never," debuted earlier this month at No. 17 on The Billboard 200 and has sold 106,000 copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"We are committed to the Backstreet Boys, and we will protect our group from anybody or anything that tries to break us apart," the group said in a statement. "We are disappointed that our long time label Jive Records has attempted to irresponsibly exploit our group. The five of us are writing for our new CD and setting concert dates for our upcoming worldwide summer tour." Billboard.com understands the group may play some shows in conjunction with U.S. fairs.
A Zomba spokesperson said the company does not comment on pending litigation.
To date, the Backstreet Boys' three Jive studio albums have sold 27.4 million units in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.