A lawsuit has been filed against Universal Music Group (UMG) for Kanye West's 2010 song 'Power', which samples King Crimson’s track '21st Century Schizoid Man'.
According to Variety, King Crimson argues that UMG has been underpaying its streaming royalties.
The lawsuit was filed in March 2022 by Declan Colgan Music Ltd (DCM), which owns the original version of the song '21st Century Schizoid Man'.
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According to the case, West first sampled the King Crimson music without any permission before releasing the track to YouTube in 2010, where it has since amassed approximately 134 million views. "Power" was also included in 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,' his fifth studio album.
Upon realising their track has been sample, DCM urged UMG, Ye, and his production firm, Rock the World, to sign an agreement under which the sample would get a 5.33 per cent royalty return.
UMG is obligated to pay DCM a royalty on the same conditions that West earns royalties from the track under the terms of the licencing agreement.
At the time, the royalty number for a streaming track was the same as for a track on a physical CD, according to West's deal with UMG.
DCM now alleges that UMG “has failed, and continues to fail, to comply with its royalty accounting obligations in respect of one mode of exploitation, namely the making available of the Power [r]ecording to consumers through so-called ‘streaming’ services.”
Rather than the proportion of what platforms like Spotify pay each stream, they now want their streaming royalties to be similar to traditional CD sales - the royalties paid per stream are smaller than those paid on CD sales.
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Aneesa Ahmed is Mixmag's Digital Intern, follow her on Twitter