There have been a number of lawsuits over the past few years from artists who are complaining about how the major record labels account for iTunes sales. The question is whether or not a song sold on iTunes is the same as a CD sale (a tiny tiny royalty) or more like licensing a song for a commercial (more like a 50% royalty). Obviously, the record labels want iTunes treated like a CD. But musicians have a reasonable argument that an iTunes sale may be a lot more like a typical license, as a big part of the reason in the discrepancy in the royalty rates is that there's no (expensive) physical packaging and distribution to handle. The Allman Brothers were one of the first to file lawsuits on this issue suing both Sony Music
, and then a couple years later, Universal Music Group
(I'm still not clear why they sued the two separately, years apart). Eminem also had sued UMG over this issue and lost
, as a jury said iTunes was more like a CD sale.
UMG tried to get the case from the Allmans dismissed, but davebarnes
alerts us to the news that the court has refused to dismiss the case
, and it will proceed to a full trial. Of course, like Eminem, the Allmans may lose the trial, but it's better than having the case dismissed outright. Of course, if the Allmans win, it will create a bunch of similar lawsuits in short order, as pretty much every artist will be demanding a lot more iTunes revenue.