Pink Floyd Hits EMI with iTunes Royalty Lawsuit

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The iconic rock band Pink Floyd is suing its record label, EMI, over claims that it hasn't been properly paid royalties for songs sold through Apple's iTunes Store. Part of the band's complain stems from EMI offering individual tracks through the iTunes Store instead of full albums only, according to the Telegraph.

The contract, based on the band's interpretation, doesn't allow for individual song sales. EMI, however, thinks that restriction applies to physical product sales such as LPs and CDs, but not to electronic versions of the band's works.

The contract with EMI was signed well before the iTunes Store opened, and at the time there wasn't a precedent for electronic music sales.

"It was unclear whether record companies would be selling direct to the consumer or through retailers," Pink Floyd lawyer Robert Howe told BusinessWeek. "[The iTunes Store] wasn't launched in the U.K. until 2004. These negotiations were taking place six years before that."

Both sides look ready to stick to their guns, so this battle may stay in the court room for some time. There's no word on whether or not the judge overseeing the case will take his wardrobe cues from The Wall.

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You can’t have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat.


Honestly? I am on Pink Floyd’s side with this.  First they have insisted since the album’s debut that no singles came off it, and it be sold as a whole.

Dark Side is one of the true albums out there, and SHOULD be purchased in its entirety, and listened to as such.

But for 95% of the rest of music, I agree it is a marketing cinstruct to charge $10, $12, $16 for 2 good songs and a bunch of (crap?) filler.

Just a few cents from under -2? sun


I don’t see the problem with letting the market sort it out. Bands that are good enough to sell by the album (and there aren’t that many out there) should be able to sell by the album. Everyone else can make as much money as their talent allows by selling singles. Seems like a record company vs. artist fight to me. Everyone should be making more money overall than if the iTunes store didn’t exist.


You can?t have any pudding if you don?t eat your meat.

Does Nick Mason need another Ferrari ?

Does David Gilmour’s boat need dry docking ?

Is Roger Waters’s wall falling down ?

Gee Guys Aren’t you rich enough yet ?

The BBC is reporting that Pink Floyd won their suit.


Does Nick Mason need another Ferrari ?

Does David Gilmour?s boat need dry docking ?

Is Roger Waters?s wall falling down ?

Gee Guys Aren?t you rich enough yet ?

Actually, I think they do regard themselves as rich enough. I suspect that they’d earn more royalties if people could buy singles, and EMI agrees with that, which is why they tried to make the albums available as singles—more sales = more profit for EMI. I suspect that the band doesn’t really care that much about the royalties anymore, except insofar as they get what they are due, but they do care about the albums.

They made the albums, they negotiated the contract, they can sell it how they want. If I want the album, I’ll buy it. If I don’t, I won’t buy it. Of course, in the case of Pink Floyd, that decision is, for me, academic, as I’ve got all (or at least nearly all) of their albums already.


They made the albums, they negotiated the contract, they can sell it how they want.

EMI’s premise was that the limitations that were in the contract did not apply to on-line sales and EMI could do whatever they wanted with the work. This ruling is very good for the artists regardless of how much they make.

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