On Thursday night, rock band Avenged Sevenfold announced the surprise arrival of their seventh studio album, on Vivendi SA’s Capitol Records—after playing several songs on the roof of Capitol’s circular building in Los Angeles that was streamed online via a virtual reality app.
But the splashy release will soon face some unusual competition: the band’s own greatest-hits record, slated for a December release by its former label, Access Industries Inc.’s Warner Music Group. Warner Music sued the rockers earlier this year in California state court for breach of contract after they left the label without delivering the final album called for by the deal.
Their battle centers on a California labor law that frees artists and other “personal service” employees from their contracts after seven years—but also explicitly permits record companies to sue acts for damages if they fail to deliver the agreed-upon number of recordings during that time. While plenty of actors, artists, athletes, talent agents and record companies have invoked the “seven-year rule” in the past, Warner Music’s case against Avenged Sevenfold may be the first suit based on the statute to go to trial, slated for next year.
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