Musician Davy Spillane settles royalties row with recording companies

Case included alleged breach of agreements

Renowned musician Davy Spillane has "amicably resolved" High Court proceedings he brought against recording companies for allegedly breaching agreements with him and underpaying royalty fees he claimed he was owed.

Mr Spillane had sued Tara Enterprises Limited, its subsidiary Tara Music Company Limited and those companies' managing director and owner John Cook.

Tara Records had been the record label for Mr Spillane and his band Moving Hearts for many years, the court heard. Universal Musical Ireland, which had purchased Tara Records' back catalogue in 2019, was added to the proceedings as a defendant.

In his action Mr Spillane from South Liscannor, Co Clare claimed that he became dissatisfied with the level of information, including accounting details, provided to him by Tara concerning the sales of records featuring his work and believed he was not receiving all the payments due to him.


Arising out of correspondence between Tara and his lawyers over issues raised by Mr Spillane, including the licensing of his music to third parties, it was alleged that Tara and Mr Cook had breached their contractual obligations to the musician and misrepresentation.

He also claimed that there had been an underpayment of sums of money due to him and breaches of his copyright.

Arising out of these matters in 2018 Mr Spillane terminated his contractual agreements with Tara and launched legal proceedings seeking various orders and declarations.

These included orders to deliver up to Mr Spillane of all recordings made by him that Tara had, and that he be paid all sums allegedly due to him.

He also sought several declarations from the High Court including that Tara had breached agreements made with him, and that their contractual relationship had been terminated.

He further sought damages for an alleged breach of contract, misrepresentation, and breach of duty.

A year after the action was commenced against Tara Records, and Mr Cook, Universal Music acquired Tara's catalogue and was added to the action as a defendant.

At the High Court on Wednesday Martin Canny BL for Mr Spillane told Mr Justice Mark Sanfey that the case had been resolved "amicably" between the parties, on what counsel added are "confidential terms."

Counsel said that all that remained to be done was that the court could strike out the proceedings and make an order that Mr Spillane’s legal costs be paid by Universal Music Ireland.

Ronan Lupton SC for the defendant’s agreed that the settlement between the parties was amicable and consented to the costs order being made against Universal Music Ireland only. Had the case run it would have taken several weeks to hear, Mr Lupton added. The judge, after granting the orders sought, welcomed the settlement.