Heavy Metal group Avenged Sevenfold will be going head to head in court with one of the industry’s biggest record labels, Warner Brothers, to settle a dispute that could presumably have a large effect on industry contract dynamics.
Back in 2015, Avenged Sevenfold notified Warner Brothers that they were leaving the label and cited the “Seven Year Rule,” which states that a personal service contract cannot last longer than seven years. Warner Brothers, however, similar to other record labels, requires their artists to deliver a certain amount of albums before they can exit their contract. Avenged Sevenfold’s contract held them responsible for five studio albums and a several live ones.
“We’ve realized this battle is bigger than just us,” said singer Matt Sanders (aka M. Shadows). “We’re fighting so that all musical artists have the same rights everyone else has. It’s not like we wanted to be here, but we are down for the fight.”
There have been several other similar lawsuits in the industry, such as with Thirty Seconds To Mars, but they were all settled before reaching court. If Avenged Sevenfold loses, they may have to cough up $5 to $10 million. If they win, it would be a huge success for not only them, but other artists who have been under the same contract for longer than seven years.
The heavy metal group’s argument will revolve around the fact that WBR is supposed to focus on promotion for the artists they represent, but only proves to do so with pop and legacy artists.
“The trial will include a referendum on how ineffective WBR is in promoting rock records,” said Howard King, the groups’s attorney.
Music industry analyst Bob Lefsetz who will be testifying for Avenged Sevenfold also included, “If you are not in one of those two niches, does that behoove you to be with a label? You are giving up a big percentage of revenue and tying yourself. The only reason you’d do that is if they can promote you. And if you look at their relative reach, it’s de minimis.”
Photo Credit: Mauricio Alvarado