Posted in industry | music on March 25, 2008

"We fought hard for the right to be in control of how our music is used, to avoid situations like this kind of crass commercialism and exploitation. Labels like EMI are no longer running the show, and we won't be bullied by those in the 'old' music business who consider every artist to be easily expendable. Those days are over." --Billy Corgan

Smashing Pumpkins

THE SMASHING PUMPKINS have filed a lawsuit this week against Virgin Records, their former record label, for the unauthorized exploitation of the band's musical works and image as well as for devaluing the market value of its music and deceiving its fans.

Filed in the Superior Court of the State of California in Los Angeles, the suit states that Virgin Records--without the band's knowledge or permission--endorsed and sponsored a worldwide promotional marketing campaign by and Pepsi for both companies to promote and sell Amazon and Pepsi products for financial profit.

The suit contends that the Pumpkins--one of alternative rock's most successful artists--have vigilantly overseen their music and likeness, which "convey a message of honesty, artistic integrity and alternative non-main stream culture" and that Virgin Records has "irreparably harmed the group, their reputation and goodwill with their fans."

The Pumpkins would never have granted such authority to Virgin, or any other entity, because they govern the use of its name, likeness, and musical works in conjunction with any commercial affiliation or sponsorship. Therefore, the suit indicates "Virgin has deceived and confused the public into believing that Plaintiff is affiliated with the promotion and/or that Plaintiff itself is participating in the promotion."

The Pumpkins are demanding, as the suit states, "a full and complete accounting of all funds received by Virgin pursuant to the Pepsi promotion" and the band is "entitled to an award of punitive damages against Virgin in an amount according to proof."

The suit maintains that "Virgin's action, unless and until enjoined and restrained by order of this Court, will cause great and irreparable injury to Plaintiff, as it continues to falsely attribute Plaintiff's sponsorship and/or affiliation with the promotion, and continues to provide Plaintiff's musical works at a price below the market value of the works, thereby damaging Plaintiff's reputation and reducing the market value of Plaintiff's musical works."

Says Billy Corgan: "'It's a frustrating situation honestly, to be treated so poorly by a label where we had so much success. Recently, they have ignored our pleas to give our fans special editions of our old albums, telling us they weren't interested. So there is a tremendous amount of hypocrisy involved with them turning around and using us like this."

"It's another desperate attempt," says Jimmy Chamberlin, "by an anachronistic business to generate revenue however they can, legal or illegal. They have neither the wisdom to accept their irrelevance, nor the intelligence to do something about it." He adds: "Just goes to show that they will do about anything for money. Seems they have long forgotten how to actually 'work' for a dollar."

The Pumpkins, who last year released the gold-certified Zeitgeist album on Martha's Music/Reprise, are currently on tour in Australia. The band has created one of the most acclaimed bodies of work in music history. Formed in Chicago in 1988, they released Gish, their influential (and platinum) debut in 1991, which was followed by more platinum and multi-platinum albums including the nine-times platinum Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness and the four-times platinum Siamese Dream. The pivotal group's many hits include "Disarm," "Today," "Cherub Rock," "1979," "Tonight, Tonight" and "Bullet With Butterfly Wings"--songs that defined the alternative music era and continue to resonate on modern rock radio, influencing a whole new generation.



Comments (15)


Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2008 2:36 PM

See comment above

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2008 2:56 PM

Did Virgin license SP recordings for use in Amazon-Pepsi commercials? It doesn't say here.

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2008 3:02 PM

I kinda can't shake the feeling that this yawn inducing attempt to "stick it to the system" has something to do with other large 90's Alternative Radio bands actually sticking it to the system - and gaining a whole lot of respect and credibility in the process.

Remember how the new SP album had different bonus tracks for Walmart, Best Buy, etc.? I do.

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2008 3:33 PM

he's a clown

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:03 PM

smashing pumpkins - bastion of artistic integrity, abusers of eyeliner

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2008 4:58 PM

That Zwan album caused "great and irreparable injury" to my ears. I should sue.

Posted by Bob F. | March 25, 2008 5:09 PM

Bob F., count me in for the Class Action Suit to follow. I just had an anxiety attack recalling Zwan.

Posted by Fortyver | March 25, 2008 7:37 PM

"The band has created one of the most acclaimed bodies of work in music history"

I'm a huge fan, but that's a ridiculous claim.

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2008 8:47 PM

Did the Pumpkins play NYC and I completely missed it?

Posted by Anonymous | March 25, 2008 11:39 PM

"Did the Pumpkins play NYC and I completely missed it?"

Nope, only date that they played in the NYC area was a lame 4 song set at Live Earth at Giants Stadium this past summer. They haven't even played their home of Chicago yet..kinda fucked up if you ask me.

Posted by Anonymous | March 26, 2008 12:44 AM

"songs that defined the alternative music era and continue to resonate on modern rock radio, influencing a whole new generation." pat yourselves on the back alittle guys. I guess Billy needs another publicity stunt for the sagging album nobody wants. Oh well.

Posted by deb | March 26, 2008 1:07 PM

the pumpkins blow

Posted by Anonymous | March 26, 2008 3:34 PM

billy corgan is a faggot but whatever fuck the labels

Posted by Anonymous | March 27, 2008 11:22 AM

If you are willing to buy a car, you would have to receive the mortgage loans. Moreover, my mother usually uses a short term loan, which is the most useful.

Posted by HUDSONDiann20 | March 19, 2010 5:30 AM

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