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Determining that they’ve been signed to a grossly unfair, one-sided and unenforceable contract, the Goo Goo Dolls have given legal notice to Metal Blade Records that the band will no longer record for the label, which is distributed by Warner Bros. Records. They plan to enter into discussions with other record companies and music publishers. How’s this for getting ripped off? After selling 2.1 million copies in the United States of their 1995 breakthrough A Boy Named Goo, which featured the smash hit “Name,” the Goo Goo Dolls have not received a single cent in royalties. To take it one step further, since releasing their album Jed in 1989 on Metal Blade, the group has also not seen a cent in royalties. While the monies from album sales have all been kept by Metal Blade, the total advances the band pocketed during the past eight years does not even approach $100,000.

Metal Blade is attempting to enforce against the band a contract that extends beyond a seven year period, which is not permitted by California law. (With respect to pre-1994 contracts for personal services, unless the minimum annual compensation for such services exceeds $6000 per band member, California law deems the contract unenforceable). The Goo Goo Dolls’ initial royalty rate of 8% of the suggested retail price of a CD is lower than the industry standard, something the band was not aware of when they signed to Metal Blade. The band earned only about 25 cents (after producer royalties) on each $13.00 record sold in the US, which is less than 30% of what an artist would typically earn. Additionally, the band’s royalty rate is payable on only 90% of net sales of vinyl, while on compact discs, the band’s royalties are calculated on only 75% of the retail price, with an additional “packaging” reduction of 25%. The Goo Goo Dolls royalty is even lower on records sold overseas. It’s even more unfortunate that only now has the band discovered the clause in Metal Blade’s original agreement with them that gives the company control and partial ownership of the songs written by members of the Goo Goo Dolls.
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