The Browning Allege Earache Owes Them Unpaid Royalties

  • Axl Rosenberg

The Browning make terrible music.

They also seem like schmucks.

Still, even schmucks are entitled to any money they make from creating terrible music, and it would appear that, in this regard, The Browning say they’re getting screwed by their former label, Earache.

The beef between the band and the label started — or at least became public — this past September, when the Earache Twitter account sent out a message of support for musicians hurting from the pandemic. This caused the band’s vocalist, Jonny McBee, to send out a series of tweets accusing the label owing the group money:

“Since Earache Records is so now concerned about the well being of musicians, why don’t you all ask if they can give the rights to all the bands music they removed for no reason. Or are they going to continue adding to the problem of instability and greed within the industry.


“The Browning music has been removed from the internet for 4 years and they haven’t paid me back due royalties. But wait, I’ll let y’all grand stand about the betterment of musicians??? YOU ARE ONE OF THE PROBLEMS”


“Yo Earache Records you know what would really help with the instability of my career? If you paid me the back royalties you owed me. I lost so much due to COVID and haven’t been able to finish my little house for my family to live in. Sure would help if you paid whats owed.”

And so on and so forth.

Shockingly, McBee’s tweets seem to have solved nothing. Yesterday’s, the band’s former drummer, Noah “Shark” Robinson, sent out an e-mail to many members of the industry with the subject line “EARACHE RECORDS STOLE FROM US.” The lengthy message not only reiterated that the label owes the group money, but also pointed out that Earache has gone so far as to remove all of the band’s music and videos from the Internet. Furthermore, it pointed out that “if anyone messages them or brings it up, including media sites, they just block and ignore,” and included these screen caps as proof:

The Browning Allege Earache Owes Them Unpaid Royalties
The Browning Allege Earache Owes Them Unpaid Royalties
The Browning Allege Earache Owes Them Unpaid Royalties
The Browning Allege Earache Owes Them Unpaid Royalties

Presumably, Earache Records has their own side to this story that amounts to more than just “We don’t want to pay what we owe.” But this is a BAD look for them, obvi. Hopefully they at least get the band’s material back up on the web sooner rather than later.

You can read Robinson’s entire e-mail below.

“Earache Records. It’s incredibly heartbreaking to have a HUGE chunk of your life and career, simply erased from history. They have taken down a ton of other artists’ music and videos from all the streaming sites and platforms as well, not just The Browning. Music videos, albums, everything. It’s been this way for years. No explanation, nothing. And if anyone messages them or brings it up, including media sites, they just block and ignore.

“When they took down The Browning’s Burn This World album, it had millions upon millions of plays. When they took down our ‘Bloodlust’ music video from Youtube it had over 6 million views. And the list goes on and on. It’s ALL just gone now.

“I’ve come to terms with the fact that I will never make a dime from the albums I helped to create over the years. Fine. But it’s even more disheartening to know that, in addition to ZERO monetary gain or compensation for the people who created the art, the die-hard fans have no way to listen to that material that we poured our hearts and souls into. People would come up to us at shows on tour and tell us how this song helped save their life or how that album helped get them through a rough time or a traumatic event… Now no one can enjoy any of that music at all. We can’t relive our past or enjoy those memories. It’s just beyond sad.

“This is a battle that Jonny McBee has been fighting for a while… he’s hired lawyers and has done everything possible to try and come to some term or agreement. 

“A while back, I was contacted by a lady who identified herself as a staff member of Earache Records’ accounting department. She mentioned that the label owed us money and that she was looking to resolve the issue. She sent documents and login info and we were able to see that they actually did in fact owe us a good chunk of change. Mind you, I’m not in the band anymore at this point, but I was excited to know that, perhaps, there was a chance I could make SOMETHING from all that hard work. Endless touring and performing and making countless sacrifices, starving, being broke, sleeping on floors and couches, being stuffed in a van and traveling all over the country, flying to Europe and touring all over Europe. All that stuff. We went through SO MUCH to make all that happen. Maybe it wasn’t all in vain?

“Then the communication just STOPPED. They refused to answer anything at all. Lawyers have gotten involved over the years and yadda yadda and now they are refusing to pay anything.

“This has happened to a lot of different bands. They won’t pay, they won’t answer, they won’t explain anything. Even though it has been proven, over and over again, that they DO owe the band The Browning compensation and royalties. I don’t even care about the money at this point. The other members who were in the band at that time, who helped create that material, they all have kids now. I’m more wanting them to be able to get something back from all this. SOMETHING at least.

“It’s just that I can’t believe on top of all of this nonsense, the content is just erased. Gone. Bye-bye. Of course, the physical albums still exist out there, it was distributed far and wide and was in all the music stores, etc. It’s just maddening that the music and videos have been taken down and have seemingly been erased from history. Jonny McBee and myself and Jesse Glidewell and Brian Cravey… we put an incredible amount of work, energy, blood, sweat, tears, travel, sacrifice, into making those videos and that music possible. And now it’s just been buried alive. Horrible. And Jonny and the rest of the new members have continued on and have done even more work and have made even more sacrifices over time. 

“Truth be told, I’ve never made a dime from any recording I’ve put out on any label. I’ve had a couple different albums in stores and on the Billboard Charts and I’ve never received one statement, or update, or payment of any kind. It’s a huge reason why I wanted to start my own independent labels Zombie Shark Records and Swimming with Sharks Records, because I wanted to actually help up-and-coming bands and not completely screw them. Sure, we are smaller labels, but the point is I always pay what is owed. I wish these labels would at least communicate or do the right thing. I know tons of artists and musicians out there in the exact same boat. And simply put, it just fucking sucks.

“‘The music business is a cruel and shallow money trench, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free, and good men die like dogs. There’s also a negative side.’ — Hunter S. Thompson.”

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