Rapper Kanye West reportedly is disputing reports that his music catalog is up for sale.
Many artists are selling their music catalogs for big payout and tax relief benefits, but Ye is not one of them despite reports otherwise, Complex reported.
In response to a published Billboard article, the billionaire rapper-turned-fashion-mogul posted on Instagram that he protects his catalog from being sold, even going as far as to say his catalog is being shopped around against his wishes.
Kanye West Challenges Claims on Instagram
West took to his favorite social media outlet, Instagram, to speak out about the claims he’s trying to sell off his catalog of hit songs.
“Just like Taylor Swift my publishing is being put up for my sale without my knowledge,” Ye wrote. “Not for sale.” In 2020 Swift tried to take control of her music catalog from her record label but it got sold out from under her. Many may also recall Ye’s infamous encounter with Swift at the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when Ye bum rushed Swift’s acceptance speech because he thought the award should have gone to Beyoncé.
In a series of screenshots, Ye posts receipts of his texts to inquire about the legitimacy of his song catalog being put up for sale. One in particular reads, “Can you ask Gee who is selling my publishing,” likely referring to Ye’s manager Gee Roberson, Variety noted.
The response he received from an unidentified source read: “From Gee Fake news Of course every publisher wants to pitch there hardest to buy. Smh.”
How Much Is His Music Worth?
Billboard reports that Ye’s catalog generates $13.25 million in publishing-derived royalties annually. Figuring out the amount Ye actually takes home is complicated since tracks on his later albums tend to have multiple songwriters, in some cases up to 24 (this includes songwriters on the sampled songs). But Billboard estimates that he has a 35 percent share of the songwriting on his first four albums and 20 percent on the later albums. With this in mind, Ye should be getting $5 million out of the $13.25 million annually.
The rumor circulating, which Ye claims is not true, is that he wanted up to 35 times its estimated value, or $175 million.
If Ye were to sell, Sony Music Publishing would administer the deal.
In the past, Ye has talked about publishing rights before, between 2018 and 2020, Variety has reported.
In 2018, he posted snapshots of his label contracts on social media, and on Twitter in September 2020, he screenshot a conversation he had with an unnamed adviser who claimed his masters are worth more than Swift’s.
“I’m not putting no more music out till I’m done with my contract[s]”, Ye wrote. It is worth noting he has released multiple songs, including his Donda albums, since making his statement.
Artists Who Sold Their Catalogs
If the rumors are true, Ye would be the second legendary rapper to have sold out his catalog to a publisher.
Hip-hop legend Chuck D has made a deal to sell a major stake in his songwriting catalog to his longtime publisher, Reach Music.
Artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Stevie Nicks, John Legend, Justin Timberlake and Red Hot Chili Peppers all have sold their classic songs recently.
Sony Music, for example, reportedly paid more than $500 million for Bruce Springsteen’s entire back catalog.
Why do They Sell Out
Every artist has a reason why they want to relinquish their rights to their creative work. Some want the money now and upfront rather than spread out over years and years. Others are retiring from touring and want to do their estate planning.