Four Tet wins royalties battle with former label Domino

Kieran Hebden, better known as producer Four Tet, has settled his recent legal battle with former label Domino.

Hebden confirmed in a social media post on June 20th that the case had been settled, with Domino eventually agreeing to recognise Hebden’s claims. Starting in December 2020, Hebden pursued a case against Domino regarding royalties fees from streaming and digital sales based on his original 2001 contract which was created before the streaming era. Since winning the case, Hebden will now receive 50 percent of all royalties made from the streaming and downloads of his material with Domino. Domino had originally treated these royalties as CD and vinyl sales, paying Hebden a fee based on this clause in the otherwise outdated contract. Hebden argued that the streaming and downloading of his music should be treated as licensing. Domino will pay Hebden to compensate for royalties owed to him over the past six years, a total amount of £56,921. 

When news first broke about the case, many noted how Hebden’s refusal to settle and choice to pursue the case to the end was a watershed moment for artists and their rights when it comes to record contacts and royalties. In his post to social media, Hebden said that he hopes to have “opened up a constructive dialogue and maybe prompted others to push for a fairer deal on historical contracts, written at a time when the music industry operated entirely differently.” Speaking to Resident Advisor, Hebden’s legal representative Aneesh Patel touched on the significance of the case. “The case came at an important time while there was a government enquiry into the economics of streaming and the Broken Record campaign has been gaining increasing momentum. Record labels have seen significant growth over recent years primarily driven by streaming revenue.” He continued, “Kieran took the case as far as he could. The settlement offer he received more or less offers what he was asking for from the beginning… Importantly for Kieran, it was not a confidential settlement, meaning he could share the result with others.”

Also speaking to Resident Advisor, Domino offered the following in a statement: 

“Kieran’s claim arose from differing interpretations of specific clauses in a contract entered into by Kieran and Domino in 2001 in the pre-streaming era, and the application of those clauses to streaming income. Since 2021, Kieran has added to and pursued his claim despite numerous attempts by Domino to settle the matter. Neither the Courts, nor the settlement terms, have made any determination as to how streaming should be categorised or streaming income split.”

Read Four Tet’s full statement as posted below.


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