Kieran Hebden, better known under the stage name Four Tet, is taking legal action against his former label, Domino Recordings.
Hebden is claiming that the royalty rates Domino are paying on a number of albums and EPs released in the early '00s are 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. Since the advent of streaming services, Domino have been applying this rate to streaming and downloads, which are not explicitly mentioned in the contract.
The case put forward by Hebden and his lawyers argues that Domino should pay an increased royalty rate for streaming and downloads of 50%. Hebden is seeking damages of up to £70,000 plus costs, in addition to a legal judgement on the royalty rate.
This landmark claim comes hot on the heels of the DCMS Committee's call for royalties to be split 50/50 between artists and labels. The decision made by the judge could have wider consequences for the music industry and set a precedent for future cases, which will no doubt follow.
Four Tet's most recent album, Parallel, was self-released through Text Records.