Kieran Hebden, known professionally as Four Tet, has remained embroiled in a legal battle with Domino Recordings since August 2021. The artist and label have now reached a settlement largely in favor of the former.
Hebden’s original claim was that Domino owed him 50% of royalties on streams and downloads of his catalogue, but the label had only paid him 18%. Their original contract did not specify terms for streaming as it did not significantly factor into recorded music revenues at the time. Domino initially argued that misinterpreted the terms of the contract, but Hebden now says that the label is recognizing his original claim.
“[Domino Records] have recognized my original claim, that I should be paid a 50% royalty on streaming and downloads, and that they should be treated as a license rather than the same as a CD or vinyl sale,” Hebden tweeted. “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 went on to say that he didn’t achieve 100% of his desired outcome. “Sadly, Domino still own parts of my catalogue for life of copyright and would not give me an option to take back ownership,” he wrote.
Born in Putney, England, Hebden first made a name for himself as the guitarist of a post-rock band called Fridge formed in 1995. His first foray into electronic music saw him release the single “Double Density” under the moniker 4T Recordings in 1997, and by 1998 he adopted the stage name Four Tet to release tracks like “Thirtysixtwentyfive” and “Misnomer.” His 2001 album Pause marked his first release on Domino Recordings.
“I hope these types of life of copyright deals become extinct,” wrote Hebden. “The music industry isn’t definitive and given its evolutionary nature it seems crazy to me to try and institutionalise music in that way.”