Producer Four Tet is taking legal action against the label Domino Recordings over the royalty rate applied to the streaming and downloads of his music from the 1990s.
Four Tet (real name Kieran Hebden) claims that Domino has breached its contract, originally signed in 2001, and that he should be receiving a 50% royalty rate on all streams and downloads of the tracks in question. The label has rejected those claims. Its defense document cites a clause in the original contract that states: “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.”
At this rate, Hebden would receive 75% of the initial 18% royalty rate, as Domino deems Spotify, which was created in 2008, falls under the category of a “new technology format.” Hebden is seeking a 50% royalty rate, on the basis that “the costs to labels of releasing music by way of streaming services or online music stores are substantially lower than the costs associated with releasing music in traditional physical formats,” and “the royalty rate payable by labels to musical artists on streaming or download revenue is typically significantly higher than the rate payable on physical formats.”
Hebden is seeking up to £70,000 in damages from Domino. The case will be heard at the U.K.’s Business and Property Courts of the High Court of Justice.