NEW YORK – The multiplatinum group Linkin Park (search) demanded its release from Warner Music Group on Monday, claiming the recording conglomerate, which is about to go public, is not devoting enough of its resources to promote the band.
"We feel a responsibility to get great music to our fans. Unfortunately, we believe that we can't accomplish that effectively with the current Warner Music (search)," the rock-rap band said in a statement.
However, Linkin Park, which has sold more than 16 million albums in the United States, still owes its label, Warner Bros., four more albums. In a statement, Warner Bros. Records dismissed the group's contentions as a ploy.
"We value our relationship with Linkin Park, and we are proud of our work together since signing the band as a developing artist in 1999. While Linkin Park's talent is without question, the band's management is using fictitious numbers and making baseless charges and inflammatory threats in what is clearly a negotiating tactic," the statement read.
"Warner Bros. Records has made significant investments in Linkin Park, and they have always been compensated generously for their outstanding worldwide success," the statement said.
The dispute comes as Warner prepares to go public. It was acquired last year for $2.6 billion from Time Warner Inc. by a private investor group led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. (search), now its chairman and chief executive.
The band was not available for comment. Warner Music would not comment on the record apart from its written statement.
A source close to the band who spoke on the condition of anonymity contends the group is upset because the company has not guaranteed how much they plan to spend to market the group's next album, which was due to come out in 2006.
Linkin Park claims it has been responsible for 10 percent of Warner Music Group's record sales over the past five years. "Hybrid" and "Meteora," have sold more than 16 million albums in the United States and the group's joint CD with Jay-Z, "Collision Course," released last fall, has sold 1.6 million copies, according to Nielsen SoundScan.
"The new owners of the Warner Music Group will be reaping a windfall of $1.4 billion from their $2.6 billion purchase a mere 18 months ago if their planned IPO moves forward," the band's statement read. "Linkin Park, their biggest act, will get nothing."
A source familiar with Warner's negotiations with Linkin Park, who also declined to speak on the record, said the band was overstating its contribution to the company's bottom line and Nielsen SoundScan data shows Linkin Park's albums have made up about 3 percent of the company's U.S. sales in the last five years. The source also contends the band made unrealistic demands, including asking for a $60 million advance and a 50-50 profit split.
The Linkin Park source denied that the group made such demands and said the group was offered only a $3 million advance per album for five albums, which the band considered paltry given the millions of albums it has sold.
Linkin Park said it is exploring releasing music through the Internet since it does not plan to deliver a new album to Warner Bros. However, the label could challenge any new music released if they remain under contract.