Kanye West took to Instagram on Tuesday to question Billboard’s report that his “camp” was quietly shopping his catalog of songs, writing via Stories: “Just like Taylor Swift… I’m putting my publishing up for sale without I know.”
Billboard reported Monday that members of the rapper’s team “selectively met with potential buyers to see what kind of valuation his catalog of songs could fetch,” estimating that they are seeking $175 million. In another Instagram Story, West posted a screenshot of a text message with an anonymous person, with West asking, “Can you ask Gee who’s selling my publishing,” presumably referring to his manager Gee Roberson.
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“Fake news,” the person yelled. “Of course every publisher wants to present [sic] harder to buy. Smh.”
Representatives for West and his publisher, Sony Music Publishing, did not immediately respond Diversityrequest for comment.
As is often the case with West, there is a lot to unpack in the case.
First of all, it’s hard to imagine anyone in his camp unknowingly shopping the rights to his music, although the rapid turnover of his management team and projects has the potential for miscommunication. multiple continuous. As the value of publishing and recorded music catalogs has increased in recent years, almost every major artist has explored such sales – sources say Bob Dylan sold his publishing for nearly $400 million and his recorded music for about $200 million – so it’s no surprise. that Western representatives would test the waters, especially as interest rates are rising and fears of inflation have taken hold of the market in recent months.
Second, although West compares himself to Swift, the situations are very different, even if one were to unknowingly shop his publishing. Swift’s publishing catalog was never for sale; instead, a consortium led by Justin Bieber/Ariana Grande manager Scooter Braun paid a reported $300 million for the rights to the masters held by her former label Big Machine, including her first six albums (adding another twist , Braun managed West for a few different stints in 2016-2018).
Although Swift has said she was initially unaware of the potential sale of Big Machine and much of the story remains unclear, she attempted to purchase her masters from the label before the Braun-led deal closed, but received the unacceptable terms. Instead, she is in the process of recording two new versions of the Big Machine albums (adding multiple bonus tracks) and releasing them through her own company, licensed to Universal Music Group’s Republic Records. Just 17 months after acquiring Big Machine, Braun sold his interest for a substantial profit.
West has made noise about getting his publishing and recording rights at least twice in the past, even going so far as to post excerpts of his contracts on social media in 2018. In September In September 2020 he wrote on Twitter, “I’m not putting out any more music until I finish my contract[s]” and another post included a screenshot of a text from an anonymous tipster claiming his masters were worth more than Swift’s. (He has released two versions of his “Donda” album and many other songs since making that statement.)
Furthermore, the documents he posted in 2018 showed that not only was he still legally bound by those contracts, but that they had been renegotiated more than once on terms that were very favorable to him, according to of the current standards. It’s also clear that West apparently owns the rights to many of his recordings: All of his albums from 2016’s “Life of Pablo” onward are copyrighted to his company Getting Out Our Dreams II, LLC (a change to the name of his earlier label, Getting Out Our Dreams, often shortened to GOOD) and licensed to his longtime label Def Jam, although the rights to his previous recordings are credited solely to Def Jam.
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