A busy day for Universal Music’s legal department yesterday, as Kanye West tweeted a bunch of his contracts with the major label, page by page, as part of a sudden campaign seemingly hoping to buy back his masters.
And it really was page by page, after an initial, unfortunate attempt to post PDFs (not a feature that Twitter supports).
“In the streaming world master ownership is everything… that is the bulk of the income … in COVID artist need our masters … it’s more important than ever before,” was one of his early salvos, before a period of all-caps blasts (“UNIVERSAL WONT TELL ME WHAT MY MASTERS COST BECAUSE THEY KNOW I CAN AFFORD TO BUY THEM” and “MY CHILDREN WILL OWN MY MASTERS … NOT YOUR CHILDREN … MY CHILDREN … MY CHILDREN … MY CHILDREN”), then the contracts with an exhortation for “every lawyer in the world to look at these”.
Which, indeed, they are.
Some thoughts: Artist ownership of their masters is an important topic in 2020; sharing contracts with the world is an… unusual negotiating tactic; and these contracts may not be the smoking gun of Big Evil Label that West thinks – early interest seems to be focusing on the size of the advance for 2013 album ‘Yeezus’ instead.
But they’re quite the conversation starter.
Music Ally’s next Learn Live webinar will help you understand what’s required for artists to thrive in new international markets!