Norwegian pop duo Röyksopp is caught in a legal conflict with former associate Rune Lindbæk, who demands credits and a share of the income from Röyksopp’s bestselling debut album, Melody AM. A deadline set by Lindbaek’s lawyer came and went on Monday this week without any settlement, increasing the likelihood that the lengthy conflict between former friends will move on to Bergen city court.
According to estimates by newspaper Dagens Naeringsliv (DN), Röyksopp has earned more than NOK 20 million from Melody AM since its release in 2001. The album is rated as one of the most successful ever to come out of Norway, and so is the ultra-cool electronica duo itself.
Now a somewhat uncool quarrel over rights and money threatens to spoil at least some of the fun.
Lindbæk demands to be recognized as co-composer of a song on the album, A higher place. He claims the song is similar to the song Lift which Lindbæk wrote together with Röyksopp’s Torbjørn Brundtland in the 1990s. That was when the two were members of the band Drum Island, one of many acts to emerge from the lively experimental music scene in their native Tromsø.
Brundtland later went on to form Röyksopp together with Svein Berge. The duo has released several albums and won critical acclaim and popularity around the world. They have won the Norwegian Spellemannsprisen award many times and have also been nominated for a Grammy.
Lindbæk, meanwhile, has become a recognized DJ, performer and producer. He bases his claim on a document from TONO, a copyrights organization. It was filed in 1998, listing Lindbæk and Brundtland as composers of Lift and signed by both men. Just how much money the song has generated, remains unclear.
Lindbæk told DN that he has tried in vain to reach a settlement with his former friends since 2005. In 2007, music scholar Peter Oxendale compared Lift and A higher place and found that Lindbæk should be entitled to compensation, saying that key parts of the former had been copied and used in the latter.
Röyksopp’s Brundtland and Berge appear uninterested in presenting their side of the story, often declining comment and referring media inquiries to the band’s British management firm, D.E.F., which hasn’t been talkative either. Both have been accused of stalling, in an alleged effort to so exhaust Lindbæk that he’ll give up his claim.
“All I can say is that this is Lindbæk’s show. He’d better deal with this himself,” Röyksopp’s Berge told newspaper VG on Monday.
“It is not a show,” Lindbæk responded when questioned by VG. “This is an important matter for all performers in Norway.”
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