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Domino says it is “saddened” by its ongoing Four Tet dispute

By | Published on Thursday 25 November 2021

Four Tet

Domino has issued a statement about its ongoing dispute with Four Tet, which ramped up last weekend after it emerged that the label had removed three of his albums from the streaming services.

The label says that it is “just as saddened” by the removal of the albums from streaming services as Four Tet is, but that it was advised that doing so was a “necessary consequence” of the ongoing litigation the musician – real name Kieran Hebden – is pursuing against the indie label.

Hebden sued Domino late last year in a dispute over digital royalties. Hebden argues that under the terms of his 2001 record deal he should be getting a 50% royalty on all or most of the monies generated by the streaming of his records. Domino counters that that’s an incorrect reading of the 20 year old record contract.

The dispute is due to get to court early next year. However, last weekend Hebden hit out at the label on Twitter over its decision to remove three of his albums from the streaming services as part of the ongoing legal battle.

He wrote: “I’m so upset to see that Domino Records have removed the three albums of mine they own from digital and streaming services. This is heartbreaking to me. People are reaching out asking why they can’t stream the music and I’m sad to have to say that it’s out of my control”.

“I have an ongoing legal dispute with Domino over the rate they pay me for streaming that is due to be heard in court on 18 Jan”, he went on. “Earlier this week, Domino’s legal representative said they would remove my music from all digital services in order to stop the case progressing. I did not agree to them taking this action and I’m truly shocked that it has come to this”.

In a statement issued earlier this week in response those tweets from last weekend, Domino said that it is “just as saddened about this current situation. The decision to temporarily remove the three Four Tet albums from digital services was not taken lightly. We were advised to do so as a necessary consequence of Kieran’s litigation at this time”.

As for the wider legal dispute, the label said that, since Hebden went legal, “we have offered both in correspondence and in open court to mediate, but have been rebuffed by Kieran and his legal team. We have continued trying to re-engage with them to find a solution to this dispute: one that is fair to both sides, but to no avail. Through all of this, we have been and continue to be open to discussion and mediation”.

It then concluded: “While we are equally as disheartened to have to take these steps, we remain hopeful that an amicable solution can be reached in the future. Our door is now and will always be open for further discussion with Kieran”.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the Four Tet v Domino dispute, this particular spat happened to occur just as the ongoing debate over artist royalties jumped back into the public eye with Kevin Brennan MP’s proposed reforms to UK copyright law, which would provide artists with a number of measures to force changes to their existing and old label deals.

Many of those supporting Brennan’s reforms have pointed to Four Tet’s run-in with Domino – and especially its decision to remove his recordings – as proof for why his proposed changes to copyright law are required.