Four Tet Settles Royalties Dispute With Domino

The UK artist will now receive a 50 percent royalty rate on streaming and downloads following a lengthy legal battle

Kieran Hebden, AKA Four Tet, has settled his legal dispute over digital royalties with record label Domino.

Taking to social media to confirm the settlement, Hebden said that Domino has now recognised his original claim to receive a 50 percent rate on royalties for all past and future streaming and download income. He was previously entitled to only 18 percent of royalties on a contract that the two parties agreed before the advent of streaming platforms and downloads.

"It has been a difficult and stressful experience to work my way through this court case and I’m so glad we got this positive result, but I feel hugely relieved that the process is over," Hebden said on social media. "Hopefully I’ve opened up a constructive dialogue and maybe prompted others to push for a fairer deal on historical contracts, written at a time when the music industry operated entirely differently."

He continued: "I really hope that my own course of action encourages anyone who might feel intimidated by challenging a record label with substantial means. Unlike Domino, I didn’t work with a big law firm and luckily the case took place in the IPEC court (where legal costs are capped) so I was able to stand my ground."

The label will compensate Hebden with £56,921, the amount that he and Domino agreed the label owes him from the last six years. It’s also been agreed that streaming and download income will now be treated as license income, rather than the same as a CD or vinyl sale, a key initial dispute between Hebden and Domino.

The label still owns Hebden’s music, however, under a life of copyright contract that Domino refused to break off. Speaking about this, Hebden said: "I hope these types of life of copyright deals become extinct – the music industry isn’t definitive and given its evolutionary nature it seems crazy to me to try and institutionalise music in that way."

Hebden launched his legal case against Domino – through which he sought to challenge a contract that the two parties agreed on in 2001 – in December 2020. With legal representation, he took the dispute to the Intellectual Property and Enterprise Court (IPEC) where Domino initially rejected Hebden’s claim that he should be entitled to 50 percent of royalties from streaming and download income – the label instead insisted that he was only entitled to the 18 percent of royalties that usually applies to physical music income.

Domino responded to the ongoing case late last year by removing all of Hebden’s music that had been released by the label from streaming platforms and download stores. Hebden’s legal representatives described this move at the time as "deliberate, cynical and outrageous."

Hebden released three albums in total through Domino: Pause, Rounds and Everything Ecstatic. The label, which has not publicly responded to the settlement, also released an additional number of EPs and live records by the producer.

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