Lawsuit Over Kanye West’s King Crimson Sample in 2010 Track ‘Power’ Settles Ahead of Trial

Declan Colgan Music Ltd have settled their lawsuit with Universal Music Group (UMG) over a Kanye West track which samples King Crimson’s “21st Century Schizoid Man.”

The mechanical rights to “21st Century Schizoid Man” are owned by Declan Colgan Music Ltd, with the company claiming UMG had been underpaying on streaming royalties earned from “Power.” They filed suit in London’s High Court in March 2022.

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West, who was not a party to the suit, used the prog rock band’s signature song in his 2010 track “Power.”

The case was due to go to trial in the U.K. this week but settled out of court. The terms of the settlement have not been disclosed although Variety understands Declan Colgan Music Ltd received payment as part of the agreement. Reps for Declan Colgan Music Ltd and UMG both declined to comment.

King Crimson first included “21st Century Schizoid Man” on their 1969 debut album “In the Court of the Crimson King.” It quickly became one of their best-known songs.

According to Declan Colgan Music Ltd’s lawsuit, West originally sampled the track without license on “Power,” the video for which has garnered over 140 million views since it was first uploaded to YouTube in 2010. “Power” was also included on West’s album “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy.”

After the song and album were released UMG and West’s production company Rock the World signed a deal with Declan Colgan Music Ltd entitling the company to royalties. The deal stipulated Declan Colgan Music Ltd would receive royalties on the same terms as West — and West’s deal with UMG stipulated his royalties for both streaming and physical CDs would be comparable.

In their lawsuit Declan Colgan Music Ltd claimed the royalties they received for streaming were not comparable to those they had received for CD sales.

Declan Colgan Music Ltd were represented by Clintons while UMG were represented by Russells.

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