It was announced yesterday that—after a five-year legal battle—Victory Records will have to pay A Day To Remember four million dollars in unpaid royalties.
The band have released an official statement regarding the lawsuit. Read it below, along with a timeline of the situation.
The lawsuit first surfaced in 2011 when A Day To Remember sued Victory for a breach of contract. AP received an exclusive statement from A Day To Remember then, which said the lawsuit against Victory has been ongoing since in May of that year.
“A Day To Remember would like to make it clear that they did not announce nor seek any attention regarding their ongoing suit with Victory Records. This information has been public record since May of 2011 and they have no intention of speaking publicly or disparagingly regarding their disagreement with Victory. A Day To Remember will continue to release music for their fans and are looking forward to touring in 2012.”
The label argued that A Day To Remember left Victory before fulfilling their five album commitment.
In 2013, a judge ruled that A Day To Remember would be able to self-release their album Common Courtesy. However, the case proceeded to trial, because, at that point, A Day To Remember could have potentially owed Victory Records two more albums. Here's what the band had to say then:
“In May of 2011 we joined the long list of bands that have filed suit against Victory Records. Although our case is still ongoing, we are very pleased with the judge’s decision to allow us to release our next record. The only thing that has mattered to us while dealing with this lawsuit was getting new music to our fans. We are finally going to do that on October 8th and we couldn't be more excited!”
Shortly before that 2013 court decision, in an exclusive interview, A Day To Remember frontman Jeremy McKinnon said to AP about Common Courtesy and the Victory Records:
“We self-funded this album. We built a studio in my house because we weren’t given our allowance for this album. We’re in a lawsuit. [Victory Records owner Tony Brummel] owes us a lot of money, and he stopped paying us what he owed us. We were completely cut off. We were off of the road for almost a year straight. Think about what that would do to you, if you were out of a job for a year and bleeding money because you were spending tons of money on building a studio. You’re also putting all these people to work to make this record with you—and it lasted for eight months. That’s not cheap. We paid for all of this out of our pocket. Then there is this guy sitting somewhere who is just trying to ruin our career. All we care is about getting our fans this record in any way, shape or form. Hopefully, they’ll like what they hear. If they do, we believe that they will support us through this album cycle. After this album cycle, all this crap will be in the past and we can move forward like a normal band. At the end of the day, if the music speaks for itself, and we really put out an album that people care about, then none of this bullshit will matter. All that matters is the music.”
Then, in August of this year, Victory Records released a statement on the ongoing case in the form of a press release. Here's an excerpt:
“Victory Records has issued a detailed response to a recent article in Kerrang! Magazine referencing the litigation filed against it by the band A Day To Remember. Victory Records is compelled to provide the following information to the public, specifically in response to untrue statements made by band leader Jeremy McKinnon. Victory did not file this lawsuit, A Day To Remember did so in order to avoid their remaining recording commitments to Victory. In fact, Victory was blindsided by the lawsuit that the band began to surreptitiously prepare as early as 2010.”
In the end, an Illinois jury declared that Victory Records must pay A Day To Remember $4 million in unpaid royalties. According to Law 360, after a two-week jury trial, along with a day and a half of deliberations, an eight-person jury largely favored the band in a suit that started about five years ago.
The jury determined that a few disputed recordings—the band’s two filmed concerts released on iTunes—counted as albums in order to fulfill the band’s five record contract with the label. In addition, the jury granted ADTR the composition rights to its songs, while giving sound recording rights to Victory, meaning the label can continue to sell the band’s albums while paying royalties, but the band members have the right to license the music.
When asked about the verdict, bassist Josh Woodard told law360.com it was: “Incredible, a little surreal, like you can breathe finally.”
A Day To Remember released the following official statement on their socials and website:
“As many of you know, more than 5 years ago we filed a lawsuit against Victory Records seeking freedom and resolution on several issues we had with them. For the past 2 weeks we have been in court arguing our case. Yesterday, the jury came back with a unanimous verdict in the trial granting us that freedom and resolution. Thank you to the fan base for supporting us through this difficult time, we couldn’t have done this without you. This isn’t just a victory for us but also a victory for every band wronged over the years. Right doesn’t always win, but yesterday it did.”
— A Day To Remember (@WhereisADTR) November 23, 2016
Hailing from Ocala, Florida, A Day To Remember released their newest album, Bad Vibrations, on Sept. 2, 2016.
Watch more: 10 Essential A DAY TO REMEMBER songs