Backstreet Boys: UPPA/Zuma Press
November 27, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

The Backstreet Boys’ record company blocked the release of a new BSB album so it could promote member Nick Carter’s solo project instead, the group alleges in a $100 million lawsuit filed Monday. The suit accuses Zomba Recording Company of backing away from an agreement to release a new Backstreet album in 2002, thus depriving the group of a $5 million advance. The Boys’ suit demands at least $100 million in damages from Zomba, and asks the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York to sever the group’s ties from the company.

The complaint alleges that Zomba ”refused to actively participate in the selection of songs or producers” for a follow-up to 2000’s ”Black & Blue,” effectively blocking the album, since the group is contractually barred from recording without the label’s approval. The group would have been entitled to the $5 million advance if they had delivered a new album by April 30, 2002, but the suit claims that Zomba made it impossible to meet that deadline. (A Zomba spokesperson declined to comment on any aspect of the lawsuit).

”Zomba’s motivation soon revealed itself,” the suit claims. ”Zomba decided to produce and promote a solo album by just one of the Backstreet Boys, Nick Carter, in lieu of the fourth Backstreet Boys album… Because of Zomba, Carter was unable and unwilling to participate in any of [the Backstreet Boys’] production or recording efforts.” (The Zomba spokesperson had no immediate comment on Carter’s behalf). The suit also demands that Zomba stop using the Backstreet Boys’ trademarked name — and the group’s website — to promote Carter’s album.

Carter’s album, ”Now or Never,” debuted at No. 17 on Billboard’s album chart; two weeks later, it’s dropped all the way down to No. 96.

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