The saga of Four Tet’s (AKA Kieran Hebden) legal battle with former record label Domino Recordings continues, with the three albums that were removed from streaming services in November 2021 now returning.
News of the story broke in August last year, with Hebden claiming that the royalty rates that Domino was paying on a number of his albums and EPs that were released in the '00s were in breach of contract.
The contract, which was signed in 2001, states that the producer is owed a royalty rate of 18% on sales of vinyl, cassettes and CDs. However, Domino was also applying this rate to streaming and downloads.
As a result of the dispute, and against Hebden’s wishes, Domino removed three Four Tet albums - Pause (2001), Rounds (2003) and Everything Ecstatic (2005) - from streaming services in November. Hebden claimed that this was done in an attempt to prevent the court case from progressing.
However, the albums are now back, with our colleagues at Music Week reporting that Four Tet has now signed a new publishing deal with Universal Music Publishing Group. This is said to cover his entire back catalogue and future works.
This isn’t the end of the story, though - Hebden amended his legal claim against Domino late last year, with his legal team now arguing that removing the albums from streaming services was a further breach of contract and that the copyright of the master recordings should therefore revert back to him.
Deputy Judge Pat Treacy has now ruled that this additional claim can be added to Hebden’s additional case. Domino’s barrister, Tom Richards of Blackstone Chambers, had claimed that the company had offered to no longer exploit the masters as commercial releases in light of the fact, prior to the recent takedown, a witness statement showed that Hebden had previously requested the removal of albums from Spotify for a three-year period.
The case is now set to go to trial later this year.