Spinal Tap members Harry Shearer, Christopher Guest and Michael McKean, along with director Rob Reiner, have settled a dispute with Universal Music Group over music recordings for their 1984 mockumentary, This Is Spinal Tap.
Under the agreement, Tap recordings will continue to be distributed through UMG and “eventually the rights will be given to the creators,” according to a statement from the creators. “The parties look forward to making these beloved recordings available to existing and new Spinal Tap fans for years to come.”
The original complaint, brought by Shearer’s Century of Progress Productions in October 2016 against UMG owner Vivendi and StudioCanal, alleges that the minds behind the cult classic had earned less than a $100 in musical sales income and just $81 in merchandising income from the film between 1984 and 2006. Guest, McKean and Reiner were added to the complaint in early 2017.
The Spinal Tap creatives said that while their dispute with UMG over the band’s recordings have been resolved, the complaint against Studio Canal and exec Ron Halpern — alleging breach of contract, fraud and anti-competitive business practices related to the management of film rights — continues.
(Excluded from the legal proceedings are the estates of the band’s long list of deceased drummers, including John “Stumpy” Pepys, Eric “Stumpy Joe” Childs, Peter “James” Bond, Mick Shrimpton, Joe “Mama” Besser and Richard “Ric” Shrimpton, to name just a few.)
Shearer, who plays hirsute bassist Derek Smalls in the group, commented, “I must admit, from the moment we first began mediation with them to now, I’ve been impressed by UMG’s respect for creatives and their distinctive desire to seek a prompt and equitable solution to the issues.”
Added Guest, aka lead guitarist and singer Nigel Tufnel: “It was refreshing to be treated so constructively and with such courtesy by UMG and I’m pleased we have been able to resolve this.”