Four Tet says Domino have removed three of his albums from streaming services

Kieran Hebden says the move has come as an effort to try and stop an ongoing legal case around royalty rates

Four Tet says that his former label Domino have removed three of his albums with them from streaming services.

The producer and DJ, real name Kieran Hebden, signed with Domino in 2001 for the release of his second album, ‘Pause’. He went on to release the albums ‘Rounds’ (2003), ‘Everything Ecstatic’ (2005) and ‘There Is Love In You’ (2010) on the label.

Back in August, Four Tet announced he was claiming damages against Domino for a historic royalty rate applied to downloads and streaming revenue of his music first released in the ’00s.

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In the ongoing suit, Hebden alleges that the label is in breach of contract over its 18 per cent royalty rate (which Domino applied to record sales) and that a “reasonable” rate of 50 per cent should have been given to downloads/streams.

In a new set of tweets posted today (November 21), Hebden said that the label have removed three of his albums on Domino from streaming services (a deluxe edition of ‘There Is Love In You’ remains on Spotify at the time of writing), with the producer adding that he was alerted by the label that the move was happening “in order to stop the [legal] case progressing.”

He wrote: I’m so upset to see that [Domino] 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.

“I have an ongoing legal dispute with Domino over the rate they pay me for streaming that is due to be heard in court on the 18th of January. It was in the press a little while back.”

He added: “Earlier this week Domino’s legal representative said they would remove my music from all digital services in order to stop the case progressing. I did not agree to them taking this action and I’m truly shocked that it has come to this.

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“I signed with Domino over 20 years ago, in a different time before streaming and downloads were something we thought about.”

Hebden went on: “I considered the people who ran Domino to be my friends and to be driven by trying to create a great musical community. As a result Domino own 3 of my albums forever. Music I created that’s important to me and to many of you too.

“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 its time for artists to be able to ask for a fairer deal.

“It’s time to try and make changes where we can. I’m not driven by the money, but I have to make a stand when I am experiencing something that’s simply unfair.”

The upcoming legal case is set to be tried by a judge at the Business and Property Courts of the High Court of Justice on January 18 next year.

Four Tet is seeking damages of up to £70,000 plus costs over the claim for historical streaming and download royalties as well as a legal judgement on the 50 per cent rate. Hebden’s lawyers have argued that for all download and streaming services operating outside of the UK a 50 per cent rate would be applicable.

Domino has rejected that claim and highlighted a separate clause in the 2001 contract. “In respect of records sold in new technology formats other than vinyl, Compact Discs and analogue tape cassettes the royalty rate shall be 75 per cent of the otherwise applicable rate.”

The news comes as regulators, industry figures and the government continue to scrutinise streaming remuneration for artists as part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Commons Select Committee’s inquiry into the matter.

Findings released last month saw MPs calling for new legislation that “enshrines in law [artists’] rights to a fair share of the earnings” to address the inequality in payments received by artists.

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