Four Tet Claims He’s Been Underpaid Streaming Royalties

Domino Recordings has been paying him 18%, but he is taking them to court due to believing it should be 50%.

Four Tet is in a legal battle with Domino Recordings over streaming royalties for music he signed to the label in 2001.

Kieran Hebden better known as Four Tet is a UK based DJ and Producer who is one of the world’s most respected/successful underground electronic music artists. Kieran claims that Domino has been in breach of a contract due to them only paying him 18% of revenue from streaming and downloads.

Music Week recently published sections of legal documents in where Four Tet and his lawyers, argue that “a reasonable royalty rate…has at all material times been at least 50%”.

Streaming and other online music services were not at all popular when Kieran Hebden signed his contract with Domino in 2001, but there is a clause in the contract that states: “In respect of the exploitation of the masters and any videos embodying the masters and received by us from our licensees outside the UK we shall credit your audio and audio-visual royalty accounts respectively with 50% of all royalties and fees arising from such exploitation.”

The legal documents published by Music Week go on to say that Four Tet’s case “will contend that a reasonable royalty rate in respect of revenues derived from exploitation by way of streaming and/or digital download under the implied term of the 2001 Agreement has at all material times been at least 50%; Four Tet’s position as to the precise rate is reserved pending evidence and/or expert evidence on this issue.

To settle the dispute, Four Tet is looking for £70,000 in damages and a legal judgment that means going forward, he will start to get 50% of streaming revenue from his music signed to Domino.

Domino is currently rejecting all claims made by Kieran Hebden, and in their defensive are highlighting another cause in the Four Tet contract that reads “In respect of records sold in new technology formats other than vinyl, compact discs and analogue tape cassettes the royalty rate shall be 75% of the otherwise applicable rate.”

If what Domino claim turns out to be the winning legal argument, then this means Kieran Hebden is actually only entitled to 13.5% royalties, which is due to digital downloads being a new format at the time of him signing the contract, but despite this the label had continued to pay the artist at 18%.

Recently there have been many legal disputes between record labels, artists and streaming services after it was recently uncovered that even the most popular artists on Spotify struggle to make $50k a year.

H/T: Music Week


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