Published Oct 22, 2015Victory Records had its catalogue pulled off Spotify earlier this week over a royalties dispute, but that's not the only legal battle the Chicago hardcore imprint is involved with at the moment. New Jersey ska punk band Streelight Manifesto chimed in this week to remind the masses that they've been duking it out with label founder Tony Brummel for years and have now been sued by the label for $1 million US in damages for "failure to deliver a fourth studio album, pursuant to its record contract, and damages for copyright infringement."
Following the label's complaints that streaming service Spotify was "not properly paying publishing revenues due to Victory Records' artists in blatant violation of U.S. Copyright laws," Streetlight Manifesto popped onto their Facebook page to suggest that the imprint itself hasn't been passing on profits to its artists.
"Ironically, Victory Records hasn't paid us a cent in royalties in over 2 years," Streetlight Manifesto posted, noting more info on the matter was coming soon. They also added the colourful hashtags of "#irony" and "#douchenuggets," and followed up their post with the following meme.
On the other side of things, Victory filed a massive $1 million lawsuit against the band in U.S. Federal court last Friday (October 16). According to Court House News [via Dying Scene], the label's grievances include the band not having delivered a fourth full-length release as part of their contract, and the "incessant production delays" from frontman Tomas Kalnoky, which allegedly led to a three-year delay between the band's 2003 debut Everything Goes Numb and 2006′s Keasbey Nights.
The complaint reads: "Kalnoky, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, once acknowledged in an update to the SLM website his band's penchant for persistently delaying completing production of studio albums: 'We are aware of our reputation to take forever to release records and miss our self-imposed deadlines'. Whatever the subjective basis for Kalnoky's proclivity to procrastinate, it had the objective effect of holding albums hostage long after he had received the recording advances from Victory."
Backing up a bit, Streetlight Manifesto and Brummel have been at arms over the specifics of the band's longstanding contract with Victory. Signed shortly after the group formed in 2002, Streetlight Manifesto are said to have owed Victory four full-length albums. Though their output with the label comprises 2003's Everything Goes Numb, 2006's Keasbey Nights, 2007's Somewhere in the Between, 2010's 99 Songs of Revolution: Vol. 1, and 2013's Hands That Thieve, the qualifications of those releases are questioned by Victory. For instance, 2006's Keasbey Nights features material Kalnoky prepped with his previous project, Catch 22, who had also been signed to Victory. 99 Songs of Revolution: Vol. 1, meanwhile, is a collection of cover songs, so it doesn't apparently count as a proper LP.
As Dying Scene reports, Victory had significantly delayed the release of the band's 2013 effort The Hands That Thieve. This is because Kalnoky had also prepped the song cycle in acoustic form under the pseudonym "Toh Kay," which the suit called "part of a premeditated plan to sabotage" Victory Records.
It's also alleged that Kalnoky urged fans to bootleg the Streetlight Manifesto version of The Hands That Thieve. The band had told fans as far back as 2010 to not buy any Streetlight Manifesto merch from Victory.
Streetlight Manifesto are currently on tour and played Toronto and Montreal last week. You'll find a few U.S. dates left on their "The Last Good Fight" trip over here.