Counting Crows seeking digital royalties

Digital downloading continues to impact the Music Industry. The iTunes store is the biggest cash crop when it comes to digital downloads and many bands feel they are missing out on their fair share of royalties.

According to a recent article, The Counting Crows are the latest band to come after their label, seeking royalties they believe belong to them. The band feels that Universal Music Group should be treating iTunes downloads as licensing rather than sales. There is a significant difference between the two. Licensing would equal a 50% share where as sales would equate to only 15%. You can see why the band would be upset and they have quite a bit of examples to back up their case. These bands include Kenny Rogers, Chuck D, Rob Zombie, Rick James, Sister Sledge, Peter Frampton, George Clinton and many more.

In addition to digital income, The Counting Crows are looking into more ways that UMG have underpaid them. A royalty examiner found that $1 million turned up in UMG’s financial books. This includes “calculations on free goods, tax payments and advertising charges.” There’s also $183,625 in public performance income.

According to the complaint, UMG “tried to camouflage the agreements [with third-party vendors] as sales agreements when such agreements were drafted. They did so for one reason: so they could fraudulently represent the agreements to be sale agreements and maintain a greater profit for themselves.”

Will The Counting Crows prevail in this litigation case? It sure seems like they have a fighting chance.