2003’s Rounds, 2005’s Everything’s Ecstatic and 2010’s There Is Love In You are not currently available on streaming and digital sales platforms including Spotify and Apple Music. (The expanded version of There Is Love In You remains available.) The six Four Tet albums and released since 2012 (starting with that year’s Pink) have been issued by the producer’s own Text Records.
The artist born Kieran Hebden said in a tweet Sunday that the situation 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.”
This past August, it was announced that Hebden was taking legal action against Domino Records over the royalty rate Domino pays him for streaming and digital downloads.
An August article from Music Week notes that “Four Tet is claiming a royalty rate of 50%, while Domino is defending its decision to apply a rate of 18% to streams and downloads based on the contract relating to sales of records.” The article continues that Four Tet is seeking damages of £70,000 (approximately $94,000) “plus costs over the claim for historical streaming and download royalties, as well as a legal judgement on the 50% rate.”
The case was due to be heard in court January 18, 2022, although according to Hebden, the takedown is a preventative measure by Domino against this hearing from happening.
“Earlier this week Domino’s legal representative said they would remove my music from all digital services in order to stop the case progressing,” Hebden’s tweets continued. “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,” he writes. “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 it’s time for artists to be able to ask for a fairer deal.” See Hebden’s complete statement below.
Hebden declined to comment further. In a statement provided to Billboard, a representative from Domino Records says that “Domino are just as saddened about this current situation. The decision to temporarily remove the three Four Tet albums from digital services was not taken lightly. We were advised to do so as a necessary consequence of Kieran’s litigation at this time.”
“Kieran began his claim about contractual provisions in his original 2001 agreement with Domino, on 1st December 2020,” the statement continues. “Since then, we have offered both in correspondence and in open court to mediate, but have been rebuffed by Kieran and his legal team. We have continued trying to re-engage with them to find a solution to this dispute: one that is fair to both sides, but to no avail. Through all of this, we have been and continue to be open to discussion and mediation.”
“While we are equally as disheartened to have to take these steps,” Domino concludes, “we remain hopeful that an amicable solution can be reached in the future. Our door is now and will always be open for further discussion with Kieran.”
I’m so upset to see that @Dominorecordco have removed the 3 albums of mine they own from digital and streaming services. 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.
— Four Tet (@FourTet) November 21, 2021
UPDATE: This article was updated Nov. 23 at 5:50 p.m. EST to include the statement from Domino Records.