Four Tet‘s Kieran Hebden is taking Domino Records to court over a dispute over streaming royalties. British music trade outlet Music Week reports that Hebden is seeking “damages of up to £70,000 plus costs over the claim for historical streaming and download royalties.”
The case centers around a contract that Hebden signed with Domino back in 2001, before streaming services had become an established norm in the industry. His legal team argues in favor of a 50 percent royalty rate for streaming on platforms outside the United Kingdom. This argument is based on a clause in the contract that reads: “In respect of the exploitation of the Masters and any videos embodying the Masters and received by us from our licensees outside the UK we shall credit your audio and audio-visual royalty accounts respectively with 50% of all royalties and fees arising from such exploitation.“
Domino argues against the 50 percent rate, stating, “Streaming was not, as at the date of the 2001 Agreement, a mainstream method for the lawful distribution of recorded music and was not as at that date within the contemplation of the parties.” Domino has said that Hebden is only entitled to “75% of 18% of the dealer price (i.e. a 13.5% royalty rate)” but has reportedly been paying the full 18% on a discretionary basis.
Efforts to settle the royalty dispute out of court has thus far not resulted in a mutual agreement, and will now arguments will be heard by a judge Business and Property Courts of the High Court of Justice.