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Bohemian Rhapsody producer sues Sony

Thursday 16 August 2012

Bohemian Rhapsody producer sues Sony

The producer for such seminal rock bands as Queen, Guns ‘N’ Roses, The Cars and Cheap Trick – who most notably co-produced the track Bohemian Rhapsody – is suing Sony Music Entertainment for unpaid royalties.

According to The Hollywood Reporter Roy Thomas Baker, who also produced the master recordings to 21 Journey tracks, alleges Sony owes him over a million dollars, according to a producer agreement. The lawsuit, which was filed in Nashville, is 18-pages long.

In March this year, Sony paid $8 million to settle a digital music class action lawsuit after a five-year battle with acts like Cheap Trick, The Allman Brothers and The Youngbloods. All artists on Sony’s roster were covered after the audit, but were also given the choice to opt out of the settlement. Baker chose to opt out, stating it "is wholly insufficient to make [the] plaintiff whole."

According to the suit, Sony has admitted to some of Baker’s claims–with an initial audit turning up $475,000 in royalties allegedly underreported–but is refusing to disclose documents that may reveal further underreported royalties before the audit, when Sony used incorrect rates.

"There was no way for plaintiff to know of this fraud by Sony because of its concealment, and plaintiff reasonably relied to his detriment," states the lawsuit.

Sony never paid Baker royalties for Journey's album Departure or their 2003 release, Greatest Hits DVD 1978 - 1997, as well as neglecting to pay royalties for music and ringtones downloaded via iTunes, eMusic, Amazon and numerous other digital music providers. Baker is demanding over $1 million, and has requested an order for Sony to pay him half of its net receipts (including foreign sales) from leasing Journey’s 21 master recordings.

- Poppy Reid, The Music Network