British rock bank Pink Floyd has apparently won a court fight with record label EMI over selling individual tracks from its famous concept albums as individual downloads. The court order prevents EMI from selling individual tracks from the band’s concept albums as digital singles; UK high court judge Andrew Morritt ruled that a clause in the band’s contract with EMI stipulated that EMI was to preserve “the artistic integrity of the albums.”
EMI had argued that the word “album” only applied to physical products.
The ruling is a remarkably fast development: Pink Floyd only announced it was taking EMI to court over the issue two days ago. EMI has been ordered to pay damages—amount to be determined later by the judge—as well as £40,000 for the band’s legal fees. The amount EMI owes Pink Floyd for royalties was settled privately; EMI requested those proceedings take place behind closed doors to preserve “commercial confidentiality.”
Pink Floyd is second only to the Beatles as EMI’s top catalog seller: the band signed with EMI more than 40 years ago, and produced classic albums such as “The Wall” and “Dark Side of the Moon.” The ruling is just the latest blow to EMI’s public image: several major acts (including Radiohead and The Rolling Stones) have left the label, and EMI owner Terra Firma is fighting a legal battle with Citigroup over financing and advice the bank gave during its 2007 takeover of EMI. Several other top acts—including Pink Floyd itself—are reportedly considering leaving the label.