Kanye West an American rapper, has disputed a report from “Billboard” that claimed his “team” had been secretly marketing his song catalogue.
He revealed the news in the Instagram story section on Tuesday, writing, “Just like Taylor Swift… my publication is being placed up for my sale without my knowledge,” as reported by Variety.
According to Billboard, the rapper’s representatives are reportedly demanding $175 million for “his song catalogue,” for which they “have met selectively with prospective buyers to investigate what type of valuation his song repertoire could command.”
West asked an unknown person, “Can you ask Gee who is selling my publishing?” in a snapshot from a conversation released to his Instagram Story. West was presumably talking to his manager, Gee Roberson.
There’s a lot to unpack here, as there usually is with West. While the frequent and rapid turnover of his management personnel and his various ongoing projects creates some room for misunderstanding, it is highly unlikely that anyone in his organization is hawking the rights to his music without his awareness.
Variety reports that nearly every famous musician has investigated the possibility of selling their publishing and recorded-music archives as their value has skyrocketed in recent years.
Since the market has cooled off in recent months due to rising interest rates and inflationary fears, it is not surprising that representatives of the West would test the waters.
Second, even if someone were hawking his publishing without his knowledge, the circumstances would be far different from those in which West sees himself compared to Swift.
According to Variety, a consortium led by Justin Bieber/Ariana Grande manager Scooter Braun paid a reported $300 million for the rights to the masters owned by her former label Big Machine, which included her first six albums.
However, Variety reports that Swift’s publishing catalogue was never for sale Braun managed West for a couple of different stints in 2016-2018.
Swift claims she had no idea Big Machine was up for sale, and it’s still unclear what exactly happened there. Nonetheless, she reportedly tried to acquire her masters from the label before the Braun-led deal closed, but the terms were too bad for her to accept.
At least twice in the past, Kanye West has made public statements about his desire to own the publishing and recorded-music rights to his own work, and in 2018, he even posted portions of his contracts on social media.
For example, in September of 2020, he tweeted, “I’m not putting no more music out till I’m done with my contracts,” and in another, he provided a screenshot of a communication from an anonymous adviser presumably suggesting that his masters are worth more than Swift’s.