Late Friday, EMI announced that it was suing the Jared Leto-led outfit 30 Seconds To Mars, whose last album for the label’s Virgin subsidiary came out in 2005, for $30 million dollars because of breach of contract issues. While the exact amount of damages sought was probably the result of “cuteness” more than anything, EMI’s grievance seemed somewhat solid–after all, the band “repudiated” its contract, on which it had one album left, last month. In response to the suit, the former Jordan Catalano penned an open letter to his fans, his band’s former label, and any other parties who might be interested.
So, as you may have heard we are being sued by our former record company for the ridiculously oversized, totally unrealistic and pretty silly (but slightly clever) sum of $30,000,000. Insane? Yea that’s what we said too.
A little history…
We had been signed to our record contract for 9 years. Basically, under California law, where we live and signed our deal, one cannot be bound to a contract for more than 7 years. This is widely known by all the record companies and has been for years. In fact, so aware of it are they that they desperately try to make deals outside of California whenever possible. It is a law that protects people from lengthy, unfair, career-spanning contracts. This law also gave us the legal right to explore other possible opportunities.
Yes we have been sued by EMI. But NOT for failing to deliver music or for ‘quitting’. We have been sued by the corporation quite simply because roughly 45 days ago we exercised our legal right to terminate our old, out of date contract, which, according to the law is null and void.
We terminated for a number of reasons, which we won’t go into here (we’d rather not air any dirty laundry) but basically our representatives could not get EMI to agree to make a fair and reasonable deal.
A few things to note…
If you think the fact that we have sold in excess of 2 million records and have never been paid a penny is pretty unbelievable, well, so do we. And the fact that EMI informed us that not only aren’t they going to pay us AT ALL but that we are still 1.4 million dollars in debt to them is even crazier. That the next record we make will be used to pay off that old supposed debt just makes you start wondering what is going on. Shouldn’t a record company be able to turn a profit from selling that many records? Or, at the very least, break even? We think so.
That, and other issues, like the new regime at EMI firing most of the people we know and love, wanting to place advertisements on our website, EMI owning 100 percent of the masters of our record…forever, and basically having a revolving door of regimes at the company made it easy to not want to continue as is.
As the result of this takeover – and the firing of over 2000 employees – we have lost many of the people that were near and dear to us at Virgin/EMI and crucial to the success of 30 Seconds to Mars. A few of the great ones are still there, but it is hardly the same company we have known. After more than 5 regime changes in 9 years you’d think we would be used to the inconsistency, but the team that took the journey together for A Beautiful Lie was a very very special group of people and it’s a huge loss that so many of them are gone. (Quick fact: There is not a single employee at Virgin records who was working at the company when we signed.)
FYI- Virgin/EMI was not required to make this lawsuit public or to list such an egregiously and stupendously large amount of mullah. In fact, they were not required to set any price even close to this. We did not want to take this public, but we felt it best to explain our point of view to you, our
friends and fans, in hope that you can better understand our point of view.
We would always do our best to avoid a fight, but sometimes it’s important to stand up for what you believe in. We hope that by doing what’s right we can help to change things for the better, for ourselves and possibly others.
P.S. We will always remain grateful to the people at Virgin/EMI who were so integral to our success. And we hope that, above all, we can find a resolution to this in as civil and kind a way as possible.
There are certainly more important things out there in the world to spend time and energy on.
To be continued…
30 Seconds to Mars
“If you think the fact that we have sold in excess of 2 million records and have never been paid a penny is pretty unbelievable, well, so do we… we are still 1.4 million dollars in debt to them”? Looks like someone didn’t read his Steve Albini before diving into the major-label waters! On the bright side, Leto can also hold Lily Allen up as an example of what happens when artists do record their albums and submit them to EMI in good faith.