Universal Music Group Sued For Alleged Underpaid Streaming Royalties Over Sample On Kanye West's 'Power'

·2 min read

Kanye West has been off the grid for a minute, but now one of his popular records has stirred up a new legal battle.

Variety reports that a lawsuit has been filed against Universal Music Group for the rapper’s song “Power,” the debut single off his album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” sampling King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man.”

Reasoning For The Lawsuit

West, his production company, Rock the World, and UMG and Declan Colgan Music Ltd (DCM) — the owner of the original version of the rock band’s track — reportedly came to an agreement over the 2010 track’s copyright infringement after it was uploaded to YouTube without a license. The plan was that West was legally allowed to use the sample if the company would then receive a 5.33 percent royalty for “Power,” which at the time “the royalty figure for a streaming track was equivalent to that of a track on a physical CD,” according to the outlet.

Twelve years later, DCM claims that UMG allegedly haven’t been paying their full dues when it comes to the streaming royalties. In its lawsuit filed in the U.K. High Court in March, the company stated 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.”

Streaming Royalties

In addition to claiming to be underpaid, DCM is seeking for UMG to pay up “streaming royalties based on the sums they would have received if those streams had been physical CD sales.”

The lawsuit details that they are adamant on receiving total payment with interest. Also, the company wants for the licensing agreement to be updated and reflect their requests moving forward.

Both representatives for UMG and DCM attorneys have yet to comment, per the outlet.