King Crimson’s influential prog-rock song “21st Century Schizoid Man” is at the heart of a music royalty lawsuit recently filed against hip-hop artist Kanye West by the copyright holder of the original recording of 1969 directed by the group with Robert Fripp.
As reported by Variety Declan Colgan Music (DCM), which owns the mechanical rights to the original “21st Century Schizoid Man,” claims Universal Music Group (UMG) underpaid streaming royalties tied to the single “Power” on Tuesday, April 26. by West in 2010.”, which is owned by UMG and contains a sample of the track King Crimson.
Sometime after “Power” first appeared a decade ago, DCM became aware of the initially unauthorized sample and contacted UMG. Music multinational “Big Three” then signed a deal with Rock the World, DCM’s production company, West and West, for the continued use of the “21st Century Schizoid Man” sample in “Power” in exchange for a royalty of 5.33%. on every copy of the West song that was sold or “otherwise exploited”.
But DCM alleges in its complaint that UMG “has breached, and continues to breach, its royalty accounting obligations with respect to one mode of exploitation, namely the making available of the ‘Power’ recording to consumers. via so-called ‘streaming’ services.”
Under the agreement, UMG is “obligated to pay DCM a royalty on the same terms that West receives royalties from the track,” Variety reported. “And in the words of West [contract] At UMG at the time, the royalty figure for a streaming title was equivalent to that of a title on a physical CD.”
But DCM argues that since streaming was not specified in the deal, they should receive the same amount of royalties for streaming as for a CD sale. But the lawsuit claims UMG only paid a percentage of what they actually receive from platforms such as Spotify for each stream, a lower amount than it would for CDs.
“21st Century Schizoid Man” is the opening track from King Crimson’s 1969 debut, At the Court of the Crimson King, a defining document of early progressive rock. The album cover is pictured above.
The DCM lawsuit is the latest to show the difference between the royalties artists receive from physical sales versus streaming sales, a point of contention that continues to plague the music world. west legally changed his name to just Ye last year, but continues to perform under its given title.
Listen to both songs below.
Kanye West, “Power”
King Crimson, “the schizoid man of the 21st century”
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