Four Tet hoping to become Five Tet? Music Artist Royalties in the Age of Music Streaming
Having had the pleasure of watching Four Tet on numerous occasions, including recently at the Warehouse Project in Manchester, I was interested in reading this article on Four Tet challenging the Domino Recordings label, which owns the rights to some of its earlier recordings. , on the grounds that he considers that he does not receive a reasonable royalty derived from the dissemination of his work.
In short, the agreement between the artist and the record company was signed in 2001, before the advent of streaming services, and, in fact, the same year that the iPod was released. Four Tet alleges that, since the agreement was made before the existence of the streaming services, sales through this medium are not covered by the agreement and that while the contract provides that sales of records are subject to an 18% royalty rate, a higher rate of 50% for downloads and streaming revenue would be reasonable, given the reduced rate of revenue from these media.
The action brought by Four Tet is brought before the Commercial Intellectual Property Court, which is a court well suited to this type of litigation, given its relatively low cost.
It will be interesting to see if, given how consumers’ listening habits have changed so dramatically over the past decade, Four Tet’s action will be successful and if so, in turn. , is causing a wave of artists with dated deals with record companies to push for a higher royalty rate for the use of their music on streaming and download services.