Tag: Kanye

Why Kanye West’s fight for his masters marks a changing music industry

In September, Kanye West took to Twitter to declare the music industry (and NBA) “modern day slave ships”, as he sought to regain the rights to his master recordings. He explained: “When you sign a music deal you sign away your rights. Without the masters you can’t do anything with your own music. Someone else controls where it’s played and when it’s played. Artists have nothing accept [sic] the fame, touring and merch.”



Kanye West holding his hand up: Photograph: Michael Wyke/AP


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Michael Wyke/AP

For West, owning his masters, some of which are held by label Universal Music and publisher Sony/ATV, is personal. “My children will own my own masters, not your children, my children,” he followed up. Since then, West has pledged that all artists signed to his own GOOD Music label will get back the 50% share he holds in their masters. He’s also proposed an eight-point plan for

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Are Kanye West’s Ideas About the Music Industry Really That Unthinkable? Label Execs Weigh in

While Kanye West’s recent Twitter binges, in which he calls for a drastic overhaul of recording contracts, commanded the music industry’s attention, there was a difference in tone for the missives posted Sept. 19-21 to the more volatile ones of a few days earlier.

The tweets shared Sept. 15-16, in which West exposed more than 100 pages of his various contract amendments, evoked the mid-‘90s chapter when Prince sought to obtain the rights to his master recordings from Warner Bros. Records. While still demanding new business practices, West’s more recent batch of tweets and a subsequent interview with Billboard revealed a more collegial tone, suggesting his vision for a more artist-friendly industry will benefit labels and publishers, too.

In a Sept. 21 post that showed photos of senior Universal Music Group executives, West identified them as people who “are all going to be my best friends some day,” whereas earlier

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Deconstructing Kanye West’s Controversial Ideas for the Music Industry

While Kanye West’s recent Twitter binges, in which he calls for a drastic overhaul of recording contracts, commanded the music industry’s attention, there was a difference in tone for the missives posted Sept. 19-21 to the more volatile ones of a few days earlier.

The tweets shared Sept. 15-16, in which West exposed more than 100 pages of his various contract amendments, evoked the mid-‘90s chapter when Prince sought to obtain the rights to his master recordings from Warner Bros. Records. While still demanding new business practices, West’s more recent batch of tweets and a subsequent interview with Billboard revealed a more collegial tone, suggesting his vision for a more artist-friendly industry will benefit labels and publishers, too.

In a Sept. 21 post that showed photos of senior Universal Music Group executives, West identified them as people who “are all going to be my best friends some day,” whereas earlier

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Kanye West Will Submit Official Demands to Labels ‘Really Soon’

Kanye West has been flooding Twitter for the last week with a sprawling rant against record companies and modern music deals, demanding that artists are given control over their own masters — and peppering photos of his home furniture and quotes from the Bible into the tweetstorm as well. Some may have struggled to recognize his core intentions due to this stream-of-consciousness style of communication, but West’s music manager Abou “Bu” Thiam is eager to provide clarity.

The timing of that moment was not as random as it may have appeared, according to Thiam, who quietly started working with West two years ago.

“To be frank, we’ve been negotiating with Universal for a year and a half,” Thiam tells Rolling Stone in his first interview as West’s manager. “We’ve been deep in the trenches with them having these discussions.”

Why now? West has been a superstar in the music industry

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Kanye Speaks: West’s Plan to ‘Re-Think’ the Music Industry

“You have to adapt,” he tells Billboard in an exclusive interview. “You can’t have old rules for new games. No other business in the world would suggest you don’t adapt to a completely new supply chain and income sources.”

For a little over a week, Kanye West has waged a one-man war against the music industry as we know it. At a time when the value of both recorded music and publishing rights are skyrocketing and the Black Lives Matter protests are shining a light on the inequities that African-American artists face in the music business, West has taken to Twitter to demand the rights to his master recordings back from Universal Music Group, the label group he has been signed to since 2004 and sued last year to get out of his contract. (That lawsuit is ongoing; at the same time, West sued music publisher EMI, now owned by

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Kanye West says he has ‘the most powerful lawyer in music’ as he ‘can afford them’ to help get his ‘masters’

KANYE West has been tweeting about the music industry and artist’s rights this weekend as he vowed to get his masters back.

Kanye, 43, took to Twitter on Sunday to post about “NEW RECORDING AND PUBLISHING DEAL GUIDELINES”.

Kanye West took to Twitter on Sunday to rant about the music industry

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Kanye West took to Twitter on Sunday to rant about the music industryCredit: AFP or licensors

Dedicating an individual tweet to each of his points, he began with: “1. The artist owns the copyright in the recordings and songs and leases them to the record label / publisher for a limited term. 1 year deals.

“2. The record label / publisher is a service provider that receives a share of the income for a limited term. The split can be 80/20 in the artists favor.

“3. DEPENDANTS Artists must be dependent on no one but themselves to manage their catalog. You should need NO ONE else to understand the business

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Kanye West Says He’s Going to Help Taylor Swift Get Her Master Recordings

Kanye West’s newest Twitter proclamation is that he’s going to help Taylor Swift acquire her master recordings following the Scooter Braun-related 2019 controversy over the matter.

West took to Twitter to make the announcement in all caps, writing, “I’m going to personally see to it that Taylor Swift gets her masters back. Scooter is a close family friend.”

Following Swift’s response to Braun—who bought the singer’s masters when he purchased her former label Big Machine Label Group for over $300 million—reports surfaced that Swift could have acquired the rights to her music and/or the label itself. However, that isn’t exactly true. 

According to Swift and her attorney Donald Passman, she was never given the opportunity to purchase her masters without signing a new deal with Big Machine, and under terms that she found to be objectionable.

In her statement regarding Braun purchasing Big Machine, which she posted on Tumblr, Swift

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Kanye West Refuses To Be Pit Against Jay-Z In His Masters Battle

As Kanye West continues his Twitter crusade against Universal and Def Jam for ownership of his masters, some sources have reinterpreted elements of his contracts — which he posted page-by-page to Twitter a few days ago — to insinuate that Jay-Z “sold out” Kanye for ownership of his own Reasonable Doubt masters in 2005. As part of Jay’s agreement to take over as Def Jam president, he made a deal with then-CEO LA Reid for ownership to revert to himself in exchange for his shares in Roc-A-Fella Records, where Kanye was originally signed.

A few outlets have since reported this as a “shady business move” on the part of Jay, believing this meant Jay sold the masters of all his Roc-A-Fella artists to Def Jam in exchange for control of his own. However, as a subsidiary of Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella’s catalog would have already fallen under ownership of Def Jam

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Kanye West assails music business in video showing man urinating on Grammy

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Rapper Kanye West went on a Twitter spree on Wednesday, complaining about his contracts with music companies and posting a video depicting a man urinating on one of his Grammy awards.

The “Heartless” rapper, who has bipolar disorder, posted pages from 10 of his contracts and accused entertainment companies of exploiting Black artists.

“This is what me Kanye West deal looks like today … I PRAY IN THE NAME OF JESUS THAT IT DONT LOOK LIKE THIS TOMORROW,” he tweeted after posting the contracts that cover fees and royalties.

“All the musicians will be free,” he added over a six-hour period on Twitter.

West then posted a video that showed a person urinating on a Grammy Award that was placed in a toilet, with the caption “Trust me… I WON’T STOP.” The video racked up more than 13 million views in a few hours.

West, 43,

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Kanye West Already Owns Some of His Masters, Universal Contracts Show

Kanye West has said publicly for years that he deserves to own the rights to his music — the master recordings of his songs, and his publishing — even though he knowingly signed contracts with Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV Music Publishing, with top attorneys present, that adhere to music industry standards whereby the company is the owner. He even sued both companies over the matter last year; while the Universal suit is ongoing, sources say he settled with Sony/ATV last fall.

West renewed those efforts during his epic Twitter binge earlier this week, and tweeted out screen shots of dozens of pages from his contracts (although not all of them).

In the process, he revealed that he apparently already owns some of his masters.

Indeed, rather than demonstrating how unfair his contracts are, his tactic seems more likely to cause Universal tension with artists whose deals aren’t as artist-friendly

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