Courtney Love, Universal Music Reach Settlement; Nirvana Material Freed Up For Release

UMG able to release Nirvana greatest-hits LP, box set, rarities album free from legal hang-ups.

Following a year of tussling with Universal Music Group over who owns unreleased Nirvana material, Courtney Love has found some middle ground with the major-label conglomerate.

Love and Universal Music Group have settled their lawsuit, according to a UMG spokesperson, which means that the company is able to release a Nirvana greatest-hits LP, a box set, and a rarities album free from any legal hang-ups. The announcement of the truce arrives a day before the case was
scheduled for trial in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The first taste of new Nirvana will be simply Nirvana, a single-disc best-of collection featuring the previously unreleased song “You Know You’re Right,” due November 12. The track was leaked to the Internet and began surfacing on radio last week (see “Embattled Nirvana Track Surfaces Online As Hits LP Nears Release” ).

Additional authorization for the release of the Nirvana material was also obtained from surviving band members Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic.

In return for granting UMG permission to issue the Nirvana material, Love will be liberated from her recording contract with Geffen Records. The Hole singer is in Los Angeles recording and writing songs for a new album with
former-4 Non Blondes-frontwoman-turned-contemporary-hitmaker Linda Perry,
who’s credited with helping Pink pop on Missundaztood. Following the L.A. sessions, Love is expected to finish recording in France and the U.K. Although no formal announcement on the album has been made, its first single
is expected to be released by the U.K.’s Poptones Records in January.

Love is also preparing for her role as Lady Macbeth in a film version of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”

The singer/actress will gain ownership of all of her previously recorded material, and has waived any re-recording restrictions from some previously released Hole songs. The release of a long-form home video with UMG remains an option.

For forfeiting ownership of Love’s pending releases, UMG will receive a portion of the royalties derived from them. Additional terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Love’s legal entanglement with UMG started in January 2000, when Geffen Records sued Hole for failure to deliver an additional five albums as pursuant to their seven-album deal. Love countersued over a year later, claiming hers and other standard recording contracts were unfair.

She then filed an additional claim against UMG in October 2001 for the ownership of the Nirvana tapes, citing that Geffen Records, the label Nirvana signed with in the late 1980s, wasn’t the same after it was acquired by Vivendi Universal in late 1999 (see “Courtney Loves Sues For Control Of Nirvana’s Master Recordings” ).

[This story was updated at 11:52 A.M. EST on 09.30.02.]