PWR BTTM has secured new management and distribution rights for 2015 debut Ugly Cherries, after being dropped by both its record label and representation amid sexual assault allegations last month.
An anonymous interview with Jezebel in May led to the cancellation of the queer artpunk duo’s 36-city summer tour, and the removal of the PWR BTTM catalog from all physical and digital retailers (including streaming services). The band denied the allegations via a series of Facebook posts, and while the investigation is still ongoing, it’s managed to team up with veteran manager and label exec Lisa Barbaris to get one of its records back into circulation. Barbaris’ other clients include Cyndi Lauper.
Ugly Cherries was released by a small San Francisco label called Father/Daughter Records, and it reached an agreement with the band to sign over distribution rights. The agreement made the album available on services like Spotify and Bandcamp, like it had been. The duo’s bigger former label, Polyvinyl Records, is being less cooperative given the circumstances: It’s effectively paid for the production of an album that may never get the publicity and support that a tour provides—a financial nightmare.
According to Billboard, the label is asking to be “reimbursed for the un-recouped money, which includes the band’s advance, it gave PWR BTTM to record the album” before it will consider transferring any distribution rights to the group.
While bandmates Ben Hopkins and Live Bruce haven’t indicated they’ll be pursuing a lawsuit of any kind, a source close to the band told Billboard that they “do believe that the label has done harm to their reputation and livelihood.”