LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Def Leppard has taken to re-recording 'forgeries' of their old hits as a tactic in their ongoing struggle with their label, Universal Music Group.
The group has thus far re-recorded "Pour Some Sugar On Me" and "Rock of Ages" – both of which were released digitally on iTunes and Amazon on July 4th. According to Billboard, "Sugar" has sold more than 21,000 copies while "Ages" has shifted about 5,000 digital units.
The band told Billboard that the recordings had "wrestled control of our career back" from the Universal Music Group, who the band claims to be refusing to deal with until "until we come up with some kind of arrangement." A particular bone of contention appears to be compensation, particularly in regards to digital downloads.
Def Leppard is one of the few holdouts with digital catalog and none of their studio albums are available for digital download.
UMG has been the target of litigation by a number of artists in recent years over digital download royalties, including Peter Frampton, White Zombie, Whitesnake, Dave Mason and Chuck D of Public Enemy. Rapper Eminem led the spate of lawsuits when he successfully sued Universal's Interscope for a bigger share of royalties from Eminem's early catalog, based on contracts that predate the Internet era. Interscope had been paying Em the physical product rate (typically 10-15% and 12% in Eminem's case) instead of the correct licensing rate, which in older contracts, is typically 50%.
While most post-iTunes contracts with record labels stipulate that music downloads are covered under the lesser royalty rate, there are many artists with catalog covered by older, pre-internet contracts in which downloads would be covered under the licensing rate. – CelebrityAccess Staff Writers