Four Tet and Domino Records have reached an agreement over a royalty dispute brought by the British producer in 2020.
Today (June 20) on Twitter, the artist born Kieran Hebden announced that Domino Records has agreed to pay him a 50% royalty on streaming and downloads. He added that the label has also agreed to treat these streams as a license, rather than as the same as a CD or vinyl sale.
“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,” the producer wrote. “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.”
Hebden took legal action against Domino Records in December of 2020 over the royalty rate Domino was paying him for streaming and digital downloads, with Hebden claiming a royalty rate of 50% and Domino defending its application of a rate of 18% to streams and downloads based on a contract signed in 2001.
As part of this dispute, three of Four Tet’s most popular albums — 2001’s Pause, 2003’s Rounds and 2005’s Everything Ecstatic — were removed from streaming services last November. These albums were restored to DSPs this past February after a judge ruled that Hebden’s legal team could move forward with a breach of contract case over the removal of the albums from DSPs. Domino Records still maintains an ownership stake in these works.
“Sadly Domino still own parts of my catalogue for life of copyright and would not give me an option to take back ownership,” Hebden added today.
“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,” he continued. “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 institutionalize music in that way.”
Domino Records did not immediately respond to a request for comment.