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Universal Music Group settle lawsuit with King Crimson over Kanye West song ‘Power’

Universal Music Group (UMG) have settled a lawsuit with King Crimson over a sample used in Kanye West’s ‘Power’.

‘Power’ – which featured on the critically acclaimed fifth studio album ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted’ – samples King Crimson’s song ’21st Century Schizoid Man’ from their 1969 debut album ‘In the Court of the Crimson King’. UMG owns and operates the record label Def Jam Recording, a division which – in a joint venture with Roc-A-Fella – distributed the song.

Allegedly, West sampled the track without license. Now, the song has over 926million plays on Spotify and garnered over 140million views since it was first uploaded to YouTube in 2010.

UMG was hit with legal action in 2022 when the prog band filed a complaint, alleging the music conglomerate owed them royalties from West’s 2010 hit. The claimant in this case was Declan Colgan Music Limited (DCM), the owner of the mechanical licence for ’21st Century Schizoid Man’.

DCM claimed the royalties they received for streaming were not comparable to those they had received for CD sales. The rights holder is claiming that Universal “failed, and continues to fail, to comply with its royalty accounting obligations.”

According to Variety, Universal and Declan Colgan Music have an agreement that pays King Crimson a royalty rate of 5.33 per cent for copies of ‘Power’ that are sold or “otherwise exploited.” The US rapper was not involved in the dispute, while his song was the target of the legal action.

Variety has now reported that – in the week the case was due to go to trial in the High Court – the parties have reached a settlement agreement on Monday, according to a court order.

The High Court signed off on a consent order which concluded that there shall be no order on the claim or as to costs. The details of the settlement were not disclosed, but Variety wrote that Declan Colgan Music received payment as part of the agreement.

UMG and DCM have yet to comment on the settlement.

West has proven a controversial figure after sharing a slew of anti-Semitic statements – which he made fun of on the song ‘Vultures’, rapping: “How I’m anti-Semitic / I just fucked a Jewish bitch”. His beliefs have resulted in his social media accounts being deactivated numerous times.

In October 2022, Adidas officially cut ties with West that month in light of anti-Semitic remarks he made on social media. The rapper denied that his statements were anti-Semitic, claiming the term was “not factual”: “I don’t believe in that term”

Last year, it was alleged that West drew a swastika in a meeting with Adidas about his Yeezy footwear line and former employees of the company suggested he had been engaging in antisemitic behaviour since early meetings in 2013.

UMG and Def Jam Records terminated their relationship with Ye at the end of 2022.

Kanye West. Photo credit: Bellocqimages/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

Back in February he released the collaborative album ‘Vultures 1’ with Ty Dolla $ign. The record is meant to be the first instalment in the ‘Vultures’ album series. The second and third volumes were supposed to be released on March 8 and April 5, respectively. Ye then said ‘Vultures 2’ would be out last month – however, the album is yet to materialise.

NME gave ‘Vultures 1’ two stars, criticising the record for its “degrading lyrics and messy mixes”.

In other news, West has been sued for racial discrimination by one of his former security guards. Benjamin Deshon Provo alleges that the rap star subjected his Black employees to “less favourable treatment than their White counterparts”. He said Ye “frequently screamed at and berated Black employees” and ultimately fired Provo for refusing to cut his dreadlocks.

Also, Ye has seemingly scrapped to create his own adult film company called Yeezy Porn. Last month, it was reported that he was going to start his own adult film studio with the help of porn producer Mike Moz and it was set to launch as early as this summer.

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