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Four Tet Emerges Victorious In Legal Battle Over Streaming Royalties

A months-long legal stoush between English musician Four Tet (born Kieran Hebden) and former label Domino Records has resulted in a win for the former, with the electronic artist set to receive a much higher royalty rate than previous.

As Stereogum reports, the legal battle between the pair was first traced back to late 2020 when Hebden sued Domino Records for £70,000 in historical royalties.

In his claim, Hebden stated that he should be paid a 50 percent royalty rate for streams and digital downloads as opposed to the 18 percent his former label was paying. While his initial 2001 contract listen licensing fees as a higher rate, Domino had argued streams and downloads were akin to traditional album sales.

The legal fight reached something of a peak back in November of 2021 when the first three Domino-released Four Tet albums – 2001’s Pause, 2003’s Rounds, and 2005’s Everything Ecstatic – were removed from streaming services in what Hebden labelled a “heartbreaking” move.

Now, in a lengthy statement released on Twitter, Hebden has revealed he emerged victorious from the legal battle, labelling his update as a “bodacious” one, noting that while the experience had been “difficult and stressful” he was “hugely relieved that the process is over”.

“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 wrote. “I really hope that my own course of action encourages anyone who might feel intimidated by challenging a record label with substantial means.”

“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.”

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