Tuesday, August 29, 2000

311 Sues Label

Hip-hop-rock band 311 filed a lawsuit against its label, Capricorn Records, on Monday, claiming the company has jeopardized the band's career by denying it major marketing and promotion.
The suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleges that the label breached its 1992 contract with the band by failing to enter into a joint venture with a major label for almost two years. The band's best-selling album, 1995's 311, which spawned the hit "Down," came out while Capricorn was partnered with Mercury Records.

Since the band joined the label in 1992, it has "bounced between three different record-label partnerships and four different record distributors, culminating in an unstable atmosphere, which has demonstrably been to the detriment of 311's career," according to a statement issued by the band's attorneys.

"Put simply, defendant continues to spiral toward failure, and plaintiffs cannot withstand the damage to their careers and livelihoods by being pulled down with them," the suit concurs.

The band contends that Capricorn can no longer compete effectively in the marketplace due to the firing and departure of key staff personnel, the loss of other acts — including Cake and Widespread Panic — and the dissolution of its relationship with Universal Music Group "as an effective and willing financier and partner."

The band claims to have informed the label about its dissatisfaction with the current relationship repeatedly and were driven to take legal action after Capricorn failed to live up to key promises, including a vow made almost two years ago to partner with a new major record company.

"As a result of defendant's failure to properly market and promote 311 and find another major label partner, plaintiffs' 1999 album, Soundsystem, has not been properly marketed or promoted," the suit alleges.

The band, which kicks off a tour with Zebrahead this fall, is seeking to enforce a California law that limits personal service contracts to a maximum of seven years.