Following social media posts by Kieran Hebden about Domino pulling three Four Tet albums from streaming services, the independent label has responded and commented on their legal battle over royalties.
Three months ago, Music Week broke the news of a legal dispute between Four Tet and Domino over digital royalties. You can click here to read the full background to the case, which centres on the streaming royalty rate that the electronic artist should be paid by the label for three albums first released between 2001 and 2005.
In the latest twist to the case this month, those three albums - Pause, Rounds, and Everything Ecstatic - were pulled from streaming services.
Hebden made a series of social media posts at the weekend about the removal of the albums from DSPs.
Hebden wrote: “I’m so upset to see that [Domino] have removed the three 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.”
Domino has now commented on the case and responded to Hebden’s social media posts.
“Domino are just as saddened about this current situation,” said a statement. “The decision to temporarily remove the three Four Tet albums from digital services was not taken lightly. We were advised to do so as a necessary consequence of Kieran’s litigation at this time.
“Kieran began his claim about contractual provisions in his original 2001 agreement with Domino on December 1, 2020. Since then, we have offered both in correspondence and in open court to mediate, but have been rebuffed by Kieran and his legal team. We have continued trying to re-engage with them to find a solution to this dispute: one that is fair to both sides, but to no avail. Through all of this, we have been and continue to be open to discussion and mediation.
“While we are equally as disheartened to have to take these steps, we remain hopeful that an amicable solution can be reached in the future. Our door is now and will always be open for further discussion with Kieran.”
Our door is now and will always be open for further discussion with Kieran
The removal of the albums prompted the Featured Artists Coalition and Music Managers Forum to urge the label to change its mind.
“The removal of Four Tet’s first three albums Pause, Rounds, and Everything Ecstatic from streaming services by Domino raises all kinds of moral and legal questions about rights assignment and the power of labels over an artist's work,” said MMF CEO Annabella Coldrick and FAC CEO David Martin in a joint statement on Monday (November 22). “Regardless of the legal dispute between the two parties this is a misguided and self-defeating move, and we urge them to reconsider.”
The 2010 Four Tet album There Is Love In You released by Domino, which is not part of the legal dispute, is still available on streaming services.
The legal case is set to go to trial early next year.