Like the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync cases in the late Nineties, Aaron Carter's lawsuit against pop music mogul Lou Pearlman is expected to be settled out of court.
Filed June 24th in Hillsborough County, Florida, the suit claims Pearlman failed to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in royalties on the teenager's 1998 self-titled debut album, which was released through Pearlman's label and production company, Trans Continental.
"Over in Europe, we sold millions of albums and I didn't get anything for it," says the fifteen-year-old Carter, who was signed to Pearlman's Trans Contintental company in 1997.
"He has yet to be paid a dime," agrees Jane Carter, Aaron's mother and manager, "and they're still selling it in record stores now."
According to Jane Carter, Pearlman has already approached her about reaching an out of court settlement: "I said, 'We'll talk,' so that's the way it is at this point."
Despite the track record of lawsuits, Pearlman is unfazed by putting up the money. "If I work hard, I expect a bonus, and [Carter] deserves it," he says. "From our point of view, it's normal in this business that as people become successful, they deserve a bonus. The question is how much that is. What they have to do on their end is file their claim, so to speak. This way it's noted, and then we settle it up."
The Carters also accused Pearlman of having "fraudulent" contracts with former clients 'N Sync and the Backstreet Boys (of which Aaron's brother Nick is a member) that constitutes a "pattern of criminal activity" amounting to racketeering. In separate suits against Pearlman, the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync both asked to be released from their contracts. The BSBs settled in October 1998, and took a shot at Pearlman by titling their next album Black and Blue, while 'N Sync settled in December 1999, cheekily dubbing their next album No Strings Attached. The terms of each settlement were not disclosed.
"Whether it be Backsteet, 'N Sync or anybody else, we've always settled," says Pearlman. "We are still involved with Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync's record royalties. We never have gone to court to fight any of our artists. We're proud of our artists. In fact, I am very cordial with all of our artists to this day."