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Four Tet's First Three Domino Albums Back Streaming, Signs Exclusive Deal With Universal Music Publishing

Four Tet's legal battle with Domino Recordings continues to progress through the courts and now his first three albums on Domino are back streaming.
Four Tet Press Photo Black & White

Four Tet

Four Tet has signed an exclusive, global publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG). This doesn’t mean his music is now being released by UMG, but instead the publishing arm will now administer his music around the world. This happens as his lawsuit against Domino Recordings continues to move along through the courts.

The case between Four Tet and Domino is over royalty rates and what might be considered fair compensation. Four Tet signed his record contract with Domino in 2001, well before streaming was a thing. Four Tet and his lawyers are challenging the 18% royalty rate that he is currently receiving under the deal he signed in 2001. They would like a 50% rate and £70,000 in damages plus costs. Domino is defending the 18% rate as streaming wasn’t a thing in 2001 and it was for physical music sales.

The case got very spicy at the end of November when Four Tet alleges the label took down three of his albums, Pause, Rounds and Everything Ecstatic, from streaming services to “stop the case progressing.”

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This fact was added to an amended legal complaint, argued before a judge on December 16, 2021 that pulling down the music was a breach of contract.

According to Music Week, Deputy Judge Treacy, who has been hearing the case, has ruled that the additional claim over the streaming takedown of albums can be added to the existing legal case against Domino pertaining to streaming royalties.

The ruling by Deputy Judge Treacy stated: “I have concluded that this is not a situation in which it would be appropriate to refuse Mr Hebden's request to amend his case to plead that the 2001 Agreement should be construed as including an express continuing obligation to use reasonable endeavors to exploit the Masters by all then-industry-standard means or that, in the alternative, such an obligation should be implied.”

Following this ruling, the case now looks headed to a full trial at some point this year. It will be watched by a lot of people in the music industry since it could mean an upheaval of pre-streaming contracts and the requisite publishing rates. 

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