AP Photo/Jason DeCrow
The Allman Brothers Band claims that when their music went high-tech, they got low-balled.
Several members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame-caliber group have sued their longtime record company, Universal Music Group, for more than $10 million over disputed royalties from CD and digital download sales.
Current mates Greg Allman, Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson and Butch Trucks and founding member Dickey Betts say that they have never gotten their proper due from sales of signature tunes such as "Ramblin' Man" and "Midnight Rider."
According to the plaintiffs, Universal's obligation to the Allman Brothers Band dates back to a 1985 deal with PolyGram, which UMG acquired in 1998, that stated the group would get half the profits from third-party sales of their records, which would now include iTunes sales and ringtones offered by wireless providers.
While giving the Southern rockers a small taste of the proceeds, Universal "refuses to pay Plaintiffs at the correct royalty rate for its digital exploitation of the Capricorn Masters," states the lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. (In the early 1970s, the Allmans recorded for the now-defunct Capricorn Records.)
The complaint continues: "UMG incurs practically no expenses or risks in connection with the Masters, particularly with respect to licensing other companies such as Apple to create and distribute digital downloads…yet UMG reaps millions of dollars every year from such exploitation."