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In Victory’s countersuit, Brummel insists the case is “really about greed… The plaintiffs are now willing to say anything—no matter how untrue or defamatory—as a strategy designed to free themselves from their legal obligations to the independent record label that made them famous.
VICTORY SEEKS ITS DAY IN COURT
Label’s Tony Brummel Files Countersuit Against Hawthorne Heights

Victory Records and Tony Brummel are fighting back against the action filed against them by Hawthorne Heights in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois with a countersuit authored by lawyer Robert Meloni.

The band originally sued the leading Chicago-based indie label to terminate their contract, which still has two albums to go, alleging that royalties have been withheld and that the group’s reputation has been harmed in the marketplace by Brummel’s actions, which allegedly included hiding albums by competing groups at retail to spur sales. The group released two albums, The Silence in Black and White and the recent If Only You Were Lonely, and a pair of DVDs, through the RED-distribbed label, which have sold a total of 1.5 million copies.

In Victory’s countersuit, Brummel insists the case is “really about greed… The plaintiffs are now willing to say anything—no matter how untrue or defamatory—as a strategy designed to free themselves from their legal obligations to the independent record label that made them famous, in favor of the ‘greener pastures’ and financial inducements offered by so-called ‘major’ record distribution companies.” He calls the band’s claims “false and wildly scurrilous” and alleges they are planning a “carefully orchestrated smear campaign… by Larry Solters' Scoop Marketing, a high-powered public relations firm based in Los Angeles.”

Brummel also accuses the group of “actively soliciting” a new recording agreement with major record labels, “with whom they believe they can make even more money.”

As part of the evidence, Brummel submitted an e-mail sent to him by the band that asks for its publishing back, where they insist: "Doesn't it make YOU mad to know that bands like Underoath, The Starting Line, From First to Last and countless others who have sold far less records than us, make WAY more money than us? We are insulted by this fact. We've worked harder than these bands, sold more records, sacrified more and yet we stil live from tour to tour to pay our bills."

None of the "emo/screamo" bands that have gone from Brummel's label to a major has improved its sales performance and that includes Thursday on Island and Taking Back Sunday, whose new Warner Bros. album has sold significantly less than its Victory counterpart since its release.

Meanwhile, the ongoing Victory U.K. Tour is a big success, selling out London’s Astoria over a month in advance. The jaunt features Aiden (who won Kerrang's International Newcomer of the year award last week, beating out Panic! at the Disco, Angels and Airwaves and Wolfmother), Bayside, The Audition and The Sleeping. The country’s top retailer HMV are featuring a Victory endcap in all of their stores this month, a first for any U.S.-based indie label.

Victory is already fielding offers from distributors when its deal with RED is up at the end of the year, while Brummel has finally buried the hatchet with Apple, making the label’s product available on iTunes at the end of September.


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