Blue Man Group Will Pay a Guy $3M

Composer Ian Pai had sought $150 million for damages
By Janet Cromley,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 16, 2018 11:00 AM CDT
Blue Man Group Settles Royalty Dispute for $3M
The Blue Man Group, Phil Stanton, Chris Wink, and Matt Goldman, perform at the Arcimboldi theater in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017.   (Daniel Dal Zennaro/ANSA via AP)

Blue Man Group has agreed to pay Ian Pai more than $3 million to settle his claim that he helped the group compose many of its songs and contributed to its success, reports the New York Times. Pai had originally sued the group in 2016 for $150 million in compensatory and punitive damages, according to court documents. The composer said he'd made roughly $100,000 to $200,000 annually in royalties over 20 years, the Hollywood Reporter noted at the time, but that fell short of industry standard for his work. The payments amounted to 1% of box office, he argued, and in 2014 the group cut his payments in half. "This case involves an old story," Pai says in his complaint.

"Gifted young and naive artist puts heart and soul into creating historically significant pieces of musical genius; unscrupulous parties in position to exploit that creative power," Pai adds, in part. "The artist's work contributes significantly to the success of a billion-dollar business, and everyone gets rich except him." Blue Man Group was launched in the 1980s in Manhattan's Lower East Side as a surreal performance ensemble, and its quirky look and music (performers appear as bright blue characters) went on to become a cultural institution and must-see for tourists. Founded by Matt Goldman, Phil Stanton, and Chris Wink, the group appeared off-Broadway for two decades and earned an estimated $100 million annually. (More Blue Man group stories.)

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