Kieran Hebden, the man behind Four Tet, has revealed that his former label Domino have removed three of his albums from streaming services as the dispute over royalties continues.
Hebden is fronting the damages claim against Domino, with the dispute due to have its day in High Court and potentially could set a precedence for further cases to follow.
Hebden’s lawyers have claimed that Domino are in breach of their contract with the band. According to Music Week, Four Tet have stated that they are legally due a 50% royalty rate for streaming, whereas Domino are defending their 18% payout.
Therefore, the band are requesting damages of £70,000, along with an amended streaming rate and costs for historical streaming rights.
The legal papers claim: “Four Tet 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.”
Further adding: “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.”
Since this was revealed, Hebden has subsequently said that three Four Tet albums have been removed from streaming services in a run of Tweets that began: “I’m so upset to see that [Domino] have removed the 3 albums of mine they own from digital and streaming services.”
Adding: “This is heartbreaking to me. People are reaching out asking why they can’t stream the music and I’m sad to have to say that it’s out of my control. I have an ongoing legal dispute with Domino over the rate they pay me for streaming that is due to be heard in court on the 18th of January. It was in the press a little while back.”
Continuing: “Earlier this week Domino’s legal representative said they would remove my music from all digital services in order to stop the case progressing. I did not agree to them taking this action and I’m truly shocked that it has come to this. I signed with Domino over 20 years ago, in a different time before streaming and downloads were something we thought about.”
Concluding: “I considered the people who ran Domino to be my friends and to be driven by trying to create a great musical community. As a result Domino own 3 of my albums forever. Music I created that’s important to me and to many of you too. I believe there is an issue within the music industry on how the money is being shared out in the streaming era and I think its time for artists to be able to ask for a fairer deal.”
As the legal case progresses, it remains to be seen what the outcome will be for Four Tet, however, the claims, in general, represent a landmark moment in streaming royalties.