Rock act Counting Crows are suing over allegations they are owed digital music royalties.

The Mr. Jones hitmakers filed suit against their former record label Universal Music Group over claims they should be paid royalties for licensing rather than sales on download websites such as iTunes.

Artists receive 50 per cent of royalties for licensing compared to 15 per cent for sales of their tracks.

In legal papers filed at Los Angeles Superior Court on Tuesday (14Jan14), the complaint reads, "Through this lawsuit, Counting Crows seeks to compel Defendant to account to and pay the rightful share of licensing income paid to Defendant for downloads and ringtones of the recorded music licensed by Defendant to these entities."