Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?

Kanye West currently does not have a record label or music publisher. Both Universal Music’s Def Jam Recordings and Sony Music Publishing have ended their contracts with the rapper.

Kanye West , one of the most popular, influential and commercially successful musicians of the past 20 years – effectively burned his business and career with a series of unsavory anti-Semitic comments. can be denied. And among the major problems facing the 45-year-old rapper is that he currently has no record label or music publisher.

According to previously reported information, both Universal Music’s Def Jam Recordings and Sony Music Publishing have ended their contracts with Kanye. In purely musical and business terms, this situation is unprecedented and unheard of.

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 1.

(Photo: Fashionista)

The 45-year-old rapper’s relationships with many other business partners have also broken down after his recent unstable behavior and statements.

Def Jam, which owned the rights to Kanye’s recordings around the mid-2010s and distributed subsequent releases up to last year’s ” Donda ” album, has confirmed that his deal with The company folded last year. Copyright credits on some albums have changed in recent weeks; It appears that West owned his copyrights from the 2013 ” Yeezy ” album onwards.

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 2.

(Photo: Marca)

As with RCA Records and R. Kelly, the company will continue to own or distribute its catalog, and profits from it, according to the terms of their contract. Def Jam presumably owns the music rights to Kanye’s previous recordings for decades to come, though it’s unclear when post-2013 releases will have new distribution deals.

Meanwhile, Sony Publishing confirmed that Kanye’s management agreement with the company ended earlier this year, although the label will continue to manage his affairs, according to the terms of the agreement, for a limited time. undetermined time.

So what happens when Kanye wants to release new music? The rapper released three collaborations with other artists this year (all before his anti-Semitic comments), but all were tagged as Kanye collaborations.

Self-releasing music?

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 3.

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 4.

Perhaps, based on Kanye’s recent comments about launching his own clothing lines, he will release music himself.

But releasing music at Kanye West’s level requires major business partners. So who would work with the 45-year-old rapper at a time like the present?

While the major labels – Universal, Sony and Warner Music Groups – are likely out of the equation in terms of collaborations in the near future, it’s possible that Kanye could strike a deal with a major indie label like Empire , Create Music Group or Believe is based in France. This is one of the few Western music companies that did not close or drastically reduce operations in Russia after the Ukraine war earlier this year.

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 5.

An album released by Kanye West in 2007.

However, those companies or others like them will be braced for serious failure. “It would have to be someone willing to be boycotted,” says one veteran music industry executive. Other artists on the label or distributor, not to mention employees, probably wouldn’t be supportive. that”.

Representatives for the companies listed above did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment, although one person said that many of their companies’ employees would have strong opinions about such a move. So.

If he can’t find a partner, Kanye West can simply announce it on social media and upload the music to virtually any streaming service, as long as the song doesn’t include Spotify’s “hate content” clause. hate” or anything else that violates the service’s policies; most do not designate artists based on their behavior, but rather the content of the music. All streaming services pay royalties to the rights holder, which is usually a label but in this case it would be West and whoever he might partner with.

Publishing, however, is a more complicated matter. Tracking and collecting publishing royalties, known as management, is a complex and labor-intensive activity that requires extensive infrastructure; even a major publisher like Primary Wave Music offers it to major companies like Universal and Warner.

No one is willing to risk collaborating with Kanye West at this time.

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 6.

(Photo: Twitter)

At this point, it’s hard to imagine a major publisher – or even a smaller one – agreeing to work with West on a rental basis, although it could be done for a period of time. time. The 45-year-old rapper could use a semi-automated music licensing company like Songtradr, which uses technology to track and monetize catalogs, or strike a deal with a larger company like Downtown Music or Kobalt, companies with artist services departments that handle everything from physical products to publishing management.

However, like the companies above, representatives of these companies did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment on whether or not they would cooperate with a client like Kanye West.

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 7.

Kanye West is more alone than ever – after his anti-Semitic comments.

Perhaps the most likely scenario would be for West to acquire an existing publishing company to provide that infrastructure for himself, or even more likely, hire a small staff to handle those tasks. . West is no longer poor and probably won’t be for a while, despite his skyrocketing net worth to an estimated $900 million according to Forbes (or $2 billion according to himself).

“A handful of people is enough and I’m sure he can find experts” – another veteran executive said – “but revenue will still drop significantly”.

Of course, there’s another option: Kanye would sell his catalog. Reports surfaced a few weeks ago that West’s representatives were considering that possibility, and although the 45-year-old rapper denied it, the New York Times cited sources earlier this week as saying. That’s right.

But although there has been a booming market for the song catalog in recent years – culminating in Bruce Springsteen selling his songs for a reported $600 million – after what Kanye created, music His has dropped in value significantly – along with Kanye’s clothing and shoe brands.

And if major companies are shying away from doing business with Kanye, they don’t seem interested in buying and marketing the rapper’s catalog of songs.

Ultimately, if West tries to tour or perform any live shows, he will likely encounter a scenario similar to the one R. Kelly faced in his declining years of career. Kelly held a series of concerts for die-hard fans arranged with local promoters – bypassing larger companies such as Live Nation and AEG, which usually organized the tours. by high-caliber artists – but those shows are increasingly being canceled due to outcry from audiences.

What future is there for an artist who is defiant, likes to provoke and rarely says sorry?

It’s hard to imagine how West returns after the events of the past few weeks. Kanye has always been a contrarian and a provocateur, and Kanye himself has increasingly done himself a disservice in recent years. Kanye rarely apologizes for anything publicly. If not, there’s a good chance that when this latest episode of his creation comes to an end, he might write a letter, apologize, and try to win back the fans he lost.

“Can Kanye West come back? If he apologizes and seems truly remorseful, in a convincing way, then it’s possible” – one executive said – “But it will take a long time It’s hard to imagine him ever approaching his previous position – as a musician or a businessman – after everything.”

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 8.

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 9.

Without a record company and publishing deal, how will Kanye West release music?  - Photo 10.

(Photo: NYLON)

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