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Backstreet Boys File For Divorce From Jive Records

The Backstreet Boys are entangled in yet another corporate melee. This time, the band is reportedly accusing Jive Records of being in breach of contract and has served notice to the company that the group no longer considers itself on the label. According to a story in Billboard Online, the Backstreet Boys are upset that 'N Sync recently announced it would be making a jump from BMG to Jive, and that the boys had reportedly left their management company last year partly because those managers represented 'N Sync as well.

The Backstreet Boys have historically been involved in a string of other litigious situations including a dispute with their business manager and quasi creator, Louis Pearlman, which resulted in Pearlman being cut in as the a "sixth Backstreet Boy" although with a hands-off role. The band also severed ties with their manager Johnny Wright, who continues to manage 'N Sync, and signed with The Firm, the company behind Limp Bizkit and Korn.

However, there were still legal problems remaining between Jive's mother company, Zomba, and Pearlman and his Trans Continental label, although the Jive spokespeople at the time emphasized that the band itself was not directly involved. The Orlando Sentinel reported that the suit involved trademark, royalties, and control issues.

Last month, 'N Sync announced it was signing a distribution deal with Jive (allstar, Sept. 8), although BMG contended at that time that 'N Sync was still a BMG act.

Most recently, Trans Continental Records issued a press release that "clarified" its role with both the Backstreet Boys and 'N Sync.

It claimed "financial involvement" with the Backstreet Boys, and it stated that with regard to 'N Sync: "... We remain committed to the fundamental principles of our agreements that state that 'N Sync has exclusive recording and other obligations to Trans Continental and that 'N Sync is first and foremost a Trans Continental Records act that is distributed in the U.S. by RCA, a label of BMG."

Trans Continental also handles LFO, Take 5, and C Note. In addition, the company also recently announced that it will be holding screenings in key cities in order to form a band specifically for a television show tentatively titled O-Town in association with MTV Productions and ABC.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Backstreet Boys says that a statement will be forthcoming, but had no comment at press time. Calls to Jive and BMG were not immediately returned. When we sort it all out, we'll let you know.

-- Sorelle Saidman

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