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Virgin/EMI Sue 30 Seconds to Mars for $30 Million, Leto Fights Back

August 18, 2008 11:48 AM ET

EMI may have found a new way to generate profits: suing their own artists. Virgin/EMI have slapped 30 Seconds to Mars with a $30 million suit for -- depending on which side you talk to -- breaching their contract (says Virgin/EMI) or legally terminating their contract (says 30STM's Jared Leto.) After news of the suit hit, Leto issued a lengthy statement arguing that the band signed its contract with the label nine years ago, but according to California law (where the deal was inked), "one cannot be bound to a contract for more than seven years." So the band, looking to take advantage of that loophole despite owing Virgin three more albums, is opting out due to some significant disagreements:

"If you think the fact that we have sold in excess of 2 million records and have never been paid a penny is pretty unbelievable, well, so do we," Leto writes. "And the fact that EMI informed us that not only aren't they going to pay us AT ALL but that we are still 1.4 million dollars in debt to them is even crazier." Plus, there's more, "like the new regime at EMI firing most of the people we know and love, wanting to place advertisements on our Website, EMI owning 100 percent of the masters of our record... forever, and basically having a revolving door of regimes at the company made it easy to not want to continue as is."

An EMI spokesperson responded by saying, despite their success with 30STM, "We have been forced to take procedural, legal steps in order to protect EMI's investment and rights during contract renegotiations initiated by the band and management. We hope to resolve these matters amicably and put them behind us so we can continue working in partnership with the band to take them to even greater levels of success."

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Song Stories

“Vicious”

Lou Reed | 1972

Opening Lou Reed's 1972 solo album, the hard-riffing "Vicious" actually traces its origin back to Reed's days with the Velvet Underground. Picking up bits and pieces of songs from the people and places around him, and filing his notes for later use, Reed said it was Andy Warhol who provided fuel for the song. "He said, 'Why don't you write a song called 'Vicious,'" Reed told Rolling Stone in 1989. "And I said, 'What kind of vicious?' 'Oh, you know, vicious like I hit you with a flower.' And I wrote it down literally."

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