Four Tet's Albums Return to Streaming as Legal Dispute with Domino Continues

The artist's first three albums on the label were removed during the active litigation
Four Tet's Albums Return to Streaming as Legal Dispute with Domino Continues
Photo: Shane Parent
For the first time since November of last year, Four Tet's Pause, Rounds and Everything Ecstatic albums are available on streaming services amid the artist born Kieren Hebden's legal dispute with Domino Records.

As per Music Week's reporting, the surprise return follows the December 16 hearing at Intellectual Property Enterprise Court. Deputy Judge Pat Treacy has now ruled that Hebden's legal team's additional breach-of-contract claim over the streaming takedown can be added to their existing case against Domino over royalties.

The lawsuit centres on the rate of the label's royalties due to Hebden, who is asking for 50 percent while Domino fights to maintain its rate of paying the artist 18 percent for all streams and downloads. Hebden signed the contract with the label in 2001 — long before the rise of digital streaming platforms or even the dawn of the iPod later that same year.

Domino notified Hebden in November that his three early-aughts albums would be removed from streaming services during the active litigation, after which the artist's legal team filed to amend.

"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 endeavours to exploit the masters by all then-industry-standard means or that, in the alternative, such an obligation should be implied," Judge Treacy said in a statement.

"Overall, however, given the potential consequences for Mr. Hebden of refusing permission to amend when I have concluded that the amendments are not simply fanciful and have at least some prospect of success, I consider that I would not be doing justice between the parties if I refused permission," the judge continued, adding: "Overall, the interests of justice require me to grant permission to amend the pleadings in respect of these issues."

The full trial is due to take place this week.

Hebden also just joined Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) on an "exclusive, global publishing agreement," according to a press release.

Last year, Caribou's Dan Snaith commented on the dispute, calling Domino's removal of the Four Tet records from streaming a "desperate and vindictive act."