Presidential candidate Kanye West has been tweeting prolifically today. One might even say he’s been oversharing, tweeting photos of every page of a contract (or a number of contracts, we didn’t go through every page he shared).
Oh, and also, he shared a photo of what appears to be him (or someone) urinating on a Grammy Award.
As of late, Kanye has been tweeting about his issues with record labels owning artists’ “masters.” Masters, in music industry-speak, are the source recordings from which all the later copies are made. Master recordings can be tapes, discs, pro tools session files or digital formats such as MP3s. Controlling the rights to master recordings basically means controlling what is done with that recording of a song or album. Kanye West can’t give permission to a movie to use his recording of, say, “Jesus Walks”; the label (Def Jam) owns that. This is separate from publishing, or the rights to the song itself. If Kanye West owned his own publishing and he wrote and recorded a song for Def Jam (his record label) without any co-writers, he could grant a movie the rights to use a recording of a song. But if the movie wants the official version of the song Kanye’s album, Def Jam has to allow that. Another artist (or even Kanye) could re-record the song for the film. But the official version is Def Jam’s property.
Interestingly, Kanye’s nemesis Taylor Swift recently had a similar battle for her masters with her former label, Big Machine (Big Machine still owns the masters). And Kanye has asked Swift, along with a few other stars, for their support in his battle, includng Bono, “Paul” (presumably one-time West collaborator Paul McCartney), Drake and Kendrick Lamar.
Hitboy, an critic of West’s posted that he sided with West on this issue, detailing his own record deal which he sees as being unfair.
West also clarified a bit about his conflict with Hitboy.
West seems to have lost interest in his current run for President of the United States, but he did refer to himself as “Baby Putin,” leading some to wonder if Russia is helping to fund his presidential campaign.