Four Tet Sues Label Over Perceived Discrepancy In Streaming Royalty Rate

A new lawsuit brought forth by Four Tet claims his label Domino Recordings underpaid his streaming royalties for music released over a decade ago. 

The contract, singed in 2001, led to a partnership between the producer and Domino that manifested multiple albums, including 2001's Pause, 2003's Rounds, and 2005's Everything Ecstatic.

At the heart of Four Tet's claim is the assertion that he is entitled to a 50% share of the streaming royalties for these albums. However, he was historically paid only 18%, according to the suit.

The basis for the claim comes from a clause in the contract which suggests that any licensing of his masters to services based outside of the UK entitles Four Tet to a 50% royalty rate. A judge could potentially rule this to be the case for all major streaming services, given they are technically based outside the country.

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Four Tet Sues Label Over Perceived Discrepancy In Streaming Royalty Rate

Four Tet is suing for £70,000 to make up for lost income.

four tet

Four Tet.

Domino acknowledges they have historically paid an 18% royalty rate, but argue they would have actually been entitled to actually pay less than that. The label points to another clause which says they are only obligated to pay 75% of the standard 18% share (effectively a net 13.5% royalty rate).

"In respect of records sold in new technology formats other than vinyl, Compact Discs and analogue tape cassettes the royalty rate shall be 75% of the otherwise applicable rate,” the contract reads, according to Music Week.

For the purposes of this argument, Domino of course defines streaming as an example of a new technology format which could theoretically prove their case, if a judge agrees. Four Tet is seeking damages of up to £70,000 to cover the difference in lost income over the disputed rate.