American rapper and business mogul, Kanye West has taken to social media, to lament over the unfair treatments of record labels towards artistes.
The 43 years old husband of popular reality TV star, Kim Kardashian, attacked the structure of the music industry, stating that musicians had no right to their master.
Kanye West, in lengthy tweets, made shocking revelations about his recording contracts with Universal and Sony Music. “I have ten contracts with Universal”, he wrote, adding that “they try to bury us alive”.
He also called for change in the industry, read the breakdown below;
1. The artist owns the copyright in the recordings and songs and leases them to the record label / publisher for a limited term e.g. 1 year deals
2. The record label / publisher is a service provider that receives a share of the income for a limited term. The split can be 80/20 in the artists favor
On this, he said: “Artists must be dependent on no one but themselves to manage their catalog. You should need NO ONE else to understand the business you’re in”.
The first thing that changes about Record Deals is actually lawyers.
We need Plain English contracts. A Lawyers role is to IMPROVE deals, not charge for contracts we cannot understand or track. Re-write deals to be understandable from FIRST READ.
Going further, he stated there should be NO MORE blanket licenses. It should be clear from day one what shares you get NOW and when you leave. If your song helps a deal over the line you invested in that store / app same as they did.
UMG now has a 2.2 billion share holding stake in Spotify. This is the artists. The system as to how we get share balances on our royalty statement needs to be created and a system on when Artists can cash in.
5. ADVANCES ARE JUST LOANS!!
On Artists re-signing these stop. Advances are Loans with 75% interest rates (or worse). NO other business in the world takes a look at the business, buys shares, starts to profit when it profits. Record Companies have to buy into you, not loan you.
Again back to dependents. You need a business manager to read how you did? So you pay to see your money!!! NO MORE.
Royalty portals need to show (and do not now): every song you delivered, every store you are in, how many streams per song and income per song
It sounds basic and logical but it does NOT exist. They focus on top earners and ZERO look at the 440 stores, Only the top few. Artists are global. That’s why their contract territory says GLOBAL.
Royalty department in EVERY label. No more separating finance teams from the music
Are not just for royalties. They are for your entire business. Every audio file, every asset, every deal stored WITH the money. Money and Music must stay together. When your term ends, download it all. Leave.
He finished by saying “This is a call for all artist to unify. I will get my masters, I got the most powerful lawyer in music and I can afford them but every artist must be freed and treated fairly”.
There are 5 main pillars in a professional musicians business namely: Recording, Publishing, Touring, Merchandise & Name and likeness