Kanye posts photos of his record deal amid dispute

by BBC

Kanye West

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The star says he won’t release new music until he is released from his recording contracts.

Kanye West, who is demanding to be released from his recording and publishing deals, has uploaded photos of his contracts to Twitter.

“I need every lawyer in the world to look at these,” he told his followers, while referring to the music industry as “modern-day slavery”.

Taking aim at the wider music industry, he later posted a video of someone urinating on a Grammy award.

West says he won’t release new music until he is released from his deals.

The dispute comes a year and a half after the rapper sued EMI Publishing, seeking to terminate what he called a “lopsided and oppressive” contract that prohibited him from retiring.

EMI counter-sued West for damages in March 2019, after what it called “West’s efforts to renege on his bargained-for contractual obligations to the company.”

They reached an undisclosed settlement last September, in which it is likely that West renegotiated his terms and royalty rates.

‘I’m fighting for us’

On Monday, the star took a break from his faltering Presidential campaign to post a string of statements about his music career.

He began by announcing he was “not putting no more music out til I’m done with my contract with Sony and Universal”.

West continued by demanding apologies “immediately” from fellow musicians J Cole and Drake, adding: “I’m fighting for us” and “I’m not gonna watch my people be enslaved”.

The implication seemed to be that he wanted to form an alliance of artists who could combat unfair recording contracts. He later implored Bono, Kendrick Lamar “and even Taylor” Swift to join the cause, adding: “All the musicians will be free”.

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The star suggested his wife, Kim Kardashian West, who is studying law, would handle his case.

At the centre of his dispute appears to be an attempt to buy back the master tapes for his recordings.

“When you sign a music deal you sign away your rights,” he posted. “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 the fame, touring and merch[andise]”.

“In COVID artist need our masters… it’s more important than ever before”.

On Tuesday, West claimed that Universal Music “won’t tell me what my masters cost because they know I can afford to buy them”.

He also tweeted texts from an unnamed adviser, who presented options for getting out of his contracts, and estimated the cost of his masters at more than $300m (£232m).

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