Sea of Tunes

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Sea of Tunes
Status Defunct (1969)
Founded 1962 (1962)
Founder Murry Wilson
Country of origin United States
Headquarters location Los Angeles
Publication types Songs

Sea of Tunes was a music publishing company, founded in 1962 by Murry Wilson. Murry was the first manager of the Beach Boys; father of Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson; and uncle of Mike Love. The intention of Sea of Tunes was to publish and promote the original songs written primarily by Brian and Love.

Selling and lawsuits[edit]

After the Beach Boys dismissed Murry as their manager in 1964, Murry continued to serve as their publisher.[1] At a 1969 press conference, Brian intimated that "We owe everyone money. And if we don't pick ourselves off our backsides and have a hit record soon, we will be in worse trouble."[2] In August 1969, Murry, Audree, and Brian Wilson allegedly signed away Sea of Tunes to Irving Almo Music, for $700,000 (equivalent to $4.67 million in 2017).[3] Brian, according to his wife Marilyn Wilson, was devastated by the sale.[4]

Mike Love wrote, in his 2016 memoir, that the group signed away their rights to the songs under duress, and that in the late 1980s, it was discovered that the exchange was part of an elaborate plan orchestrated over two years by Abe Somer, the Beach Boys' lawyer. Somer concealed the fact that he was also Irving Music's lawyer, marking a conflict of interest.[5] Over the years, the catalog would generate more than $100 million in publishing royalties, none of which Murry nor the band members ever received.[6] By 1994, the catalog was estimated to be worth $40 million ($66 million in 2017).[7]

In the early 1990s, years after Murry's death, Brian claimed fraud and sued for the return of his song copyrights.[1] The suit suggested that Brian's signature may have been forged, "plus malpractice, misrepresentations, suppression of facts, breach of contract and conflicts of interest," making the sale illegal.[8][9] While he failed to recover them in court, he was awarded $25 million in damages, including unpaid and underpaid royalties.[10]

In 1992, Love responded by filing a lawsuit, Love v. Wilson.[11] Love enacted the lawsuit for the reason that Murry never credited him for approximately 35 of the songs he had co-written with Brian, and, therefore, Love had also lost out on royalties. Unable to come to a settlement on their own, Love sued Brian for a share of his award, winning $13 million.[7]

Bootleg label[edit]

In 1997, a label named after the publishing company issued a slew of unauthorized bootleg recordings sourced from Beach Boys archives.[12]



  1. ^ a b Van Matre, Lynn (October 13, 1991). "Child Of Abuse: Beach Boy Brian Wilson Finally Tells His Story, And It Isn`t Pretty". Chicago Tribune. 
  2. ^ Carlin 2006, p. 149.
  3. ^ Love 2016, p. 226.
  4. ^ Gaines 1986, p. 224–225.
  5. ^ Love 2016, pp. 225–226, 376–377.
  6. ^ Love 2016, p. 227.
  7. ^ a b "Beach Boys' Mike Love Wins His Case, Stands to Collect Millions". Los Angeles Times. December 13, 1994. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  8. ^ Letovski, Irv (September 19, 1989). "Brian Wilson Sues Music Publisher". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 17, 2011. 
  9. ^ Heller, Karen (October 23, 1991). "A Beach Boy's Blues For Brian Wilson, The Days Of "Fun, Fun, Fun" Have Ebbed. Although He Has A New Book, He's Also Involved In Several Lawsuits. "drugs," He Says, "put A Gash In My Mind."". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 
  10. ^ "Beach Boy Wilson Sues Law Firm Over 1969 Sales". Los Angeles Times. September 18, 1990. Retrieved 2012-10-01. 
  11. ^ Bates, James (October 4, 1994). "COMPANY TOWN : No Harmony in Beach Boy Suit Between Cousins Love and Wilson". Los Angeles Times. 
  12. ^ Wilonsky, Robert (December 23, 1999). "The Forever Frown". Phoenix New Times Music. Retrieved July 29, 2013.