Bet you didn’t know Kanye West’s hit record “Power” was facing legal scrutiny for a sample. That happens. Often in the music industry, Declan Colgan Music Ltd just settled its lawsuit with Universal Music Group (UMG) over the sample of King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man.” See, Declan Colgan Music Ltd owns the mechanical rights to the song and alleged that UMG had been underpaying streaming royalties from “Power.” They filed the lawsuit in London’s High Court in March 2022. So this was a UK thing, and essentially – the plaintiff won. 

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Get this: The case was scheduled for trial in the U.K. this week but was settled out of court. And they don’t do a whole lot of suing and settling in the UK. Like, it’s far from the sure everybody energy in America. Anyway, the settlement terms are undisclosed, but Variety reported that their understanding is that Declan Colgan Music Ltd received a payment as part of the agreement. Representatives for both Declan Colgan Music Ltd and UMG declined to comment.

For music heads, King Crimson first released “21st Century Schizoid Man” on their 1969 debut album “In the Court of the Crimson King.” According to the lawsuit, West originally sampled the track without a license for “Power,” whose video has over 140 million views on YouTube since its release in 2010. “Power” was also featured on West’s album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”


Diving deeper, after the release of the song and album, UMG and West’s production company Rock the World signed a deal with Declan Colgan Music Ltd, entitling the company to royalties on the same terms as West. West’s deal with UMG ensured his royalties for both streaming and physical CDs would be comparable. However, Declan Colgan Music Ltd claimed that the streaming royalties they received were not comparable to those for CD sales. Declan Colgan Music Ltd was represented by the Clintons, while UMG was represented by Russells.

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