A right royal mix up

by Communications Team | Jul 23, 2013

The complaint

Years of gigging and lugging heavy equipment had finally paid off for a small town, four piece band The Princes as their career hit new heights, or so they thought.

Despite playing over 180 UK and European gigs over two years, the band had not received any money from their music licence company.

All band members were registered with the licensing company, but had purchased memberships at different times. This seemed to be fine though, as the company stated that royalties could be claimed for up to three years prior to the date of membership. 

However, after six to eight weeks of telephoning, exchanging emails, letters and submitting details of royalty claims, it came to light that only one member of the band was entitled to claim royalties dating back to 2007. Clearly frustrated the band asked that the company further investigate their entitlements to royalty payments and to formally register a complaint.

To complicate things, when the band left their British music licensees because they had secured a recording deal with a Spanish music publisher. The UK based licensing company suggested the band direct all further requests for royalty payments through the Spanish company, despite many of their performances being in the UK. 

Unhappy and frustrated with no royalties in the bank, the rock and roll dream became a nightmare. 
As a last resort they contacted Ombudsman Services for help to resolve their complaint

The decision

The ombudsman investigated the case and found that the licensing company did delay royalty payments to the band. This was considered a shortfall in customer service. 
To resolve the complaint the ombudsman contacted the licensing company. It agreed to reinvestigate the owed royalty payments to all band members. The ombudsman also contacted the Spanish licensing company and it agreed to liaise with the UK licensing company to ensure all members received the royalties that they had earned.

The ombudsman also asked the licensing company to send letters of apology to the band acknowledging its delay in payments and its shortfall in customer service.

Each band member also received a small financial award.  

Note 

Ombudsman Services cases studies are anonymous. We do not name the particpating companies and complainants names are fictional. 

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