Avenged Sevenfold Try To Leave Warner Bros., Get Sued
UPDATE 12:21pm EST: Avenged Sevenfold have released the following statement.
“We recently exercised our rights under California law and notified Warner Bros. Records we would no longer record for them. Few of the executives who have been integral to our continued success are still at the label, and we love and are grateful to them for their hard work. However, since we signed with the label, Warner Bros. has had 3 different regimes, multiple heads of marketing, and none of the senior management or A&R executives who were at the company and responsible for signing us are still there.
Whatever the activity, it takes a full team to compete, and we no longer know most of our teammates. In the coming days, you may read about the lawsuit our label filed against us for exercising our legal rights, rights the State of California granted specifically to protect artists. You may see mistaken facts or worse.
One such error we want to make sure you know about: Avenged Sevenfold has never renegotiated its original recording agreement with Warner Bros. Records. Billboard has now corrected its story to reflect the real facts.
Most importantly, we want our fans to know this: we are in the middle of writing a record we cannot wait for you to hear. We expect to go into the studio very soon, and look forward to releasing our new album later this year.
Until then, we wish all of you a happy, healthy 2016.
According to Billboard, Avenged Sevenfold are being sued by their label, Warner Bros. The band attempted to end their relationship with Warner, citing the “seven-year rule,” and the label in turn filed a breach-of-contract suit against them. Yikes.
Under the California Labor Code, the “seven-year rule” states that parties can leave personal contracts under specific circumstances after seven years. But the record industry fought to change the law, and did so in the 1980s, so that they can seek profits off of uncompleted albums.
Avenged Sevenfold were four albums into their five-album contract when they decided to try leaving the label. Warner Bros. claims that a) they weren’t notified in enough time, b) that they’ve invested considerable money into the band’s future, including a CD/DVD live album that they’ve already paid for, and c) that the band led the label to believe everything was going fine, making this a breach of good faith as well. As such, they’re seeking “restitution and disgorgement of all gains and benefits,” which is about as worrisome a legal term as I’ve ever heard.
The band’s attorney, Howard E. King, said the following:
“Avenged Sevenfold recently exercised the rights given them by this law and ended its recording agreement with Warner Bros. Records…” Since the 2004 contract was signed, King says the label “underwent multiple regime changes that led to dramatic turnover at every level of the company, to the point where no one on the current A&R staff has even a nodding relationship with the band.”
There are many ways to look at this. On the one hand, Avenged Sevenfold definitely had an obligation to fulfill, especially if they’d already been paid for their final album and this live CD/DVD. What’s one more album? Hell, Deicide churned out, like, three albums with Roadrunner to get out of their contract. Who cares if you no longer know or like a lot of the people on your label?
On the other hand, a band’s records are their legacy, and unhappiness within a band can result in really shitty music that can hurt their standings and reputation. If Avenged Sevenfold really saw no way to make this record and not spit on it when it arrived, then maybe they were right to attempt to get out now.
Stay tuned for any further news regarding the suit. If anyone has any legal insight into these matters that might shed some light on things, we’d be happy to hear it.
[via The PRP]