A Day To Remember vs Victory Records: A Cautionary Tale

Published - - Posted in Opinion

The Internet has given power back to bands and artists. Gone are the days of needing to be signed to a record label to build an audience and sell records and yet, a lot of bands still sign to record labels. The perception that a band signed to a label has made it is a common misconception. Signing to a label is only the beginning.

Pop-punk-hardcore band A Day To Remember know all too well what can happen when signing to a label and you’re bent over backwards and reemed. The lawsuit the band with Victory Records is supposedly still ongoing and given the recent announcement of ADTR’s newest album without a peep from Victory or non-inclusion of the album on the Victory merch site, it’s evident they’re trying to release this thing solo.

Record labels even of Victory’s stature (although not deemed a major label) have enough money to drag this thing out over the course of many years (the case was originally filed in May, 2011) until the band runs out of money and agrees to return to Victory. Lawsuits and Victory Records aren’t a rare occurrence, the label has had its fair share of lawsuits. Thursday, Streetlight Manifesto, Hawthorne Heights and now A Day To Remember.

The reality of the matter here is that if Victory want to play hard-ball, they can wait for the band to release their new album and then counter-sue taking all royalties earned from the new album and tour schedule. While their contract with Victory is most likely similar to that of Thursday’s in which a judge found there was no clause stipulating the band can’t record elsewhere or release via another label, ADTR could end up coming up short here if their claims are invalidated.

Everyone is anticipating the new record could sell between 50 to 90k in its first week which would put them at the top, but with Korn, Miley Cyrus and Justin Timberlake releasing albums in the same week, it could be an interesting battle to the top.

How ADTR and Victory play this out after the release is unclear, but if things haven’t already been resolved just yet, make no mistake Victory will make it their mission to get some of the money from the latest release from the guys (even if they played no part in making it).

The situation with Victory is once again further evidence that bands should consider going it alone for as long as possible and only after you’ve established a fan-base and worked your ass off, look to labels for distribution support but not record advances or album obligations which will harm you in the long run if things sour.