The Recording Industry Association of America says it wants to freeze internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom's assets because he profited from a business based on theft.
Warner Music Group, UMG Recordings, Sony Music Entertainment and Capitol Records filed an application at the High Court on Tuesday to freeze Mr Dotcom's New Zealand assets. The case was called for the first time on Wednesday.
The move follows a similar action by five of Hollywood's biggest film studios - 20th Century Fox, Disney, Paramount, Universal and Warner Bros - last week.
The Recording Industry Association said it is an important step in preserving assets that were unlawfully earned.
The recording companies' case and the Motion Picture Association's will be heard together in the High Court in Auckland next week.
Lawyers for Mr Dotcom's estranged wife Mona Dotcom were also in court on Wednesday, as she has an interest in the assets, as was a police representative.
Mr Dotcom faces similar action in the United States.