Singer-songwriter Aimee Mann has filed a $2 million suit against UMG Recordings and Universal Music & Video Distribution for allegedly releasing an unauthorized collection of her songs last year.
The “Aimee Mann Ultimate Collection” was released at a time when Mann was enjoying success with the release of songs she wrote for the film “Magnolia” and a new solo album, the suit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court noted.
U’s release “reduced the sales of plaintiff’s own new release by wrongfully diverting consumers to Universal’s unauthorized release and otherwise poisoning the marketplace for her product,” the suit said.
Mann, who has released three solo recordings since her split with the ’80s pop group Til Tuesday, put out her May 2000 disc “Bachelor No. 2” independently after splitting with UMG. The record, which Mann marketed heavily on the Internet, has reportedly sold more than 200,000 copies.
The Universal record allegedly included “lesser songs,” songs not meant for commercial exploitation that were released as “promotional-only” singles and songs she recorded when she was not a solo artist.
“The record was misleading to the public, inferior in quality and wrongfully exploitative of plaintiff’s current success,” the suit said.
In an open letter on her Web site, AimeeMann.com, the artist characterized “Ultimate Collection” as a “wretched fraud,” adding that the label on which it was released — Universal’s Hip-O imprint — declined her offer to help with the design and artwork for the release.
“We were basically barred from being involved in any way on a project that had my name on it,” Mann wrote. “As typical as this is in the music business, it still never ceases to amaze me.”
A Universal Music Group rep refused to comment on any pending litigation, citing company policy.
According to the complaint, the release breached Mann’s former contract with a U subsidiary that prohibited the coupling of songs from different recordings, repackaging of records, the use of any Mann pictures or biographical material and the exploitation of recordings not intended for commercial exploitation without Mann’s written consent.
The U release also came more than a year after Mann’s recording agreement was terminated, the suit said.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)