BMG look to Modular and UMG for Tame Impala mechanicals

July 2015

Music Publishing


The founder of Aussie independent record label Modular Recordings, Steve “Pav” Pavlovic, is being taken to court by BMG over an alleged non-payment of $US450,000 (about A$588,000) in unpaid mechanical royalties for Aussie rock outfit Tame Impala works. Modular, along with its co-owner, Universal Music Australia, Universal Group, Universal Music Australia and others have been accused by BMG of withholding substantial royalty payments and failing to meet agreed 45 day payment windows in each quarter, and ignoring legal advice to cease and desist selling operations with regard to Tame Impala’s recordings as mechanical royalties were not being paid for use of the songs This resulted in a law suit being filed with the New York Southern District Court early last month. BMG owns the rights to Tame Impala’s songs through its publishing agreement with songwriter Kevin Parker.

Parker recently alluded to a lack of payment for international sales during a recent Reddit AMA. In his words “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. I may never get that money.” BMG’s allegations are that they haven’t received any of the outstanding mechanical royalties, and that Modular continued to sell Tame Impala records such as the band’s 2008 self-titled EP and full-lengths “InnerSpeaker” and “Lonerism” despite being issued with a cease-and-desist notice over its alleged violation of BMG’s intellectual-property rights. The alleged outstanding unpaid international royalties amount to US $450,000.

In a statement, Universal Music Australia pinned the blame for the non-payment on the former Modular boss Steve Pavlovic. “Universal Music Australia is aware of media reports concerning a legal claim filed against Mr Pavlovic and certain companies, including Universal Music Australia and Modular Recordings” adding “No documents relating to the legal claim have been served on Universal Music Australia or Modular Recordings.  It is unfortunate that Universal Music Australia and  Modular Recordings were not contacted by BMG about the allegations before the case was filed. Had they been contacted, BMG would have realised that the companies should not have been named in the legal claim. Universal Music Australia and Modular Recordings totally reject 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. A totally separate US registered company – owned and operated by Mr Pavlovic – is responsible for contracting with BMG and for any mechanicals liability. Mr Pavlovic, who is no longer employed by Modular Recordings, has confirmed that this matter has nothing to do with Universal Music Australia or Modular Recordings in Australia. Universal Music Australia and Modular Recordings are confident that the claim against them is baseless and will be withdrawn or dismissed by the Court.” and

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