Beck Battles Labels Over Business, Artistic Issues

As a result of stalled negotiations between Beck and his two record labels, Geffen and Bong Load, the multi-styled musician is now seeking to terminate his contractual agreements with both. In turn, both record labels have filed breach of contract lawsuits against Beck.

Beck and his legal team want to exercise the artist's right to end his deals with the help of a California law that limits the contracts of entertainers to seven years, even though he still owes four albums under his existing Geffen contract.

His attorney, Jill Berliner, tells MTV News that during the recent Universal/Polygram merger, the Geffen Records executives who were renegotiating Beck's contract were eliminated and the new executives responsible for Beck don't appear to be authorized to finish the negotiations.

As part of the terms being hashed out for his new contract, Beck was asking that Bong Load Custom Records (his original label) no longer be the royalty middleman between him and Geffen.

Another sticking point addresses the acquisition of "Mutations," which Berliner says Beck has not yet been paid for, as it was not covered under his existing contract. Beck is also looking to up his royalty rate and the amount of artistic control he's guaranteed for his projects, since he's currently under what's considered a "baby band's" contract.

Though the recent Geffen and Bong Load lawsuits are making the situation more uncomfortable, Beck's lawyer says that they are still hoping to renegotiate his contract with the labels, provided the new deal fully addresses his aforementioned problems.