After Facing Three Major Label Lawsuits, Bang Energy Parent Company Declares Bankruptcy

Bang Energy bankruptcy

Photo Credit: Clem Onojeghuo

The parent company for Bang Energy–Vital Pharmaceuticals–has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Florida.

The business is seeking to restructure after multiple lawsuits and that the filing is a “restorative action to help the company recover from recent challenges.” While one of the primary drivers of the lawsuit has been the break-up between Bang and PepsiCo as a distributor, lawsuits from the three major labels didn’t help, either.

Bang entered into a distribution deal with PepsiCo in March 2020, but eight months later, Vital announced it was terminating the partnership. That decision resulted in a protracted legal battle and Bang transitioning to a direct-to-store delivery partner model. According to bankruptcy filings, Bang owes PepsiCo around $115 million in that settlement and $2.1 million from consumer programs.

In September 2022, rival Monster Energy won a $293 million false advertising and trade secrets against Bang. That was the start of a terrible, no good, very bad month for the company, which also saw judgments from Sony Music, Warner Music, and Universal Music hit home.

Sony Music Entertainment’s infringement lawsuit against Bang Energy saw a summary judgment last month, too. Both Sony Music and Universal Music sued Vital over Bang’s allegedly unauthorized use of music in promotional videos for the energy drink on TikTok. That includes more than 211 recordings that Sony Music owns, featured in a minimum of 286 videos on social media.

Following a summary judgment, Warner Music officially joined the fray on September 19, 2022. Vital Pharmaceuticals and Bang owner and CEO Jack Owoc were named in the lawsuit. Warner Music Group admits it learned of Bang’s “blatant, willful, and repeated copyright infringement” from the UMG action filed in April 2021. In July 2021, WMG sent Bang a cease-and-desist notice, but the infringement continued.

For now, it appears as though Bang is using custom-made songs in its marketing on social media following these lawsuits.