×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Kanye West Posts Nine-Minute Video, Claims He Tried to Buy His Publishing From Sony/ATV

However, the company is unlikely to simply let him out of his contract — here's why.

Kanye West returned from his brief self-imposed social media hiatus on Saturday with a series of videos apparently posted from Africa, including a nine-minute one titled “Mind Control.” In it, he delivered a now-familiar free-associative rant that touched on such topics as mind control, social media, “positive energy” and what he described as a request to be released from his contract with Sony/ATV Music Publishing, via a proposed buyback of his rights.

“I went to go buy my publishing from Sony/ATV and they said, ‘It’s $8 million [or] $9 million’ and when I went to buy it, they told me ‘No,’ I couldn’t buy my publishing,” he said.

“I have the money to buy [back] my publishing,” West continued. “And they told me that I couldn’t buy my publishing…. It’s like the control.”

A rep for Sony/ATV did not immediately respond to Variety’s request for comment.

West is hardly the first musician who has tried to get out of a record deal or music publishing contract. Prince famously had a public and years-long feud with Warner Bros. Records during the mid-1990s over his desire to be released from his contract because the label would not release albums as frequently as he wanted, resulting in the artist officially changing his name to an unpronounceable symbol before parting ways with the company by mutual agreement in 1996 (although he returned to the label via a distribution deal in 2014 and released his final album through it).

West even referenced Prince in the new video rant, mentioning the artist’s writing the word “slave” on his face as a statement of protest during the height of his dispute with Warner. He may have seen an opportunity in the recent announcement that outgoing Warner/Chappell Music Publishing chief Jon Platt will be taking the helm of Sony/ATV from longtime CEO Marty Bandier next year.

“Sony ATV told me I couldn’t buy my publishing [but] I got the money,” West reiterated at the end of the new video. “So Big Jon [Platt], Marty [Bandier]….whoever is involved….I need my publishing…I got the money. I’m not gonna say the “S” word. I’m not Prince, I don’t need to write it on my face.”

Left unsaid in West’s video is the fact he presumably knowingly signed his original contract, which outlined terms of the deal in detail. While those terms are not public, music publishing deals typically do not allow artists to simply buy back their publishing whenever they want. Often, deals have reversion clauses that can be anywhere from 10 years to 20 years (or longer), depending on the kind of deal any songwriter inks with a label or publishing entity. In exchange for music publishing companies sharing in the revenue with artists from publishing royalties earned during the duration of the contract, artists such as West are compensated up front, with often sizeable advances.

Last year, former Beatle Paul McCartney reached a confidential settlement of his lawsuit against Sony/ATV in a similarly minded dispute, in which he sought to reclaim his share of copyrights to certain songs by the Beatles.

West, who met with President Donald Trump in a bizarre public press conference of sorts last week, also is currently in Uganda working on his delayed “Yandhi” album. His video is posted in full below.

More Music

  • Michael Jackson R Kelly

    'Leaving Neverland,' 'Surviving R. Kelly' Composers on How They Scored Sexual Abuse Docs

    How do you put music to child sexual abuse — especially if the accused predators are musical icons? That’s the challenge composers Chad Hobson and Nathan Matthew David faced as they scored HBO’s “Leaving Neverland” and Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly,” respectively. The documentaries are built around interviews with the alleged victims of Michael Jackson (two [...]

  • Camp Flog Gnaw, Day 1

    Lollapalooza Reveals Some of 2019 Lineup: Lil Wayne, Tame Impala, Janelle Monae

    Tired of learning about a festival’s lineup by scrutinizing a tiny jpeg of a poster with miniscule fonts? Apparently Lollapalooza’s organizers are — they’ve come up with the novel approach of revealing part of the lineup via a video in partnership with the Chicago-based animal shelter PAWS, which mixes in clues about 2019 Lollapalooza performers in [...]

  • Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer,

    Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles Join Strip Club Drama 'Hustlers'

    STXfilms has signed Cardi B, Lili Reinhart, Keke Palmer, Julia Stiles, and Mercedes Ruehl to join strip club drama “Hustlers,” starring Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez. The film will be directed by Lorene Scafaria (“The Meddler”). Mette Towley and Trace Lysette (“Transparent”) are also in negotiations to join the film. The project, originally set up [...]

  • Peloton Sued for $150 Million for

    Peloton Sued for $150 Million for Using Drake, Lady Gaga Music Without License

    A group of publishers including Downtown Music Publishing, Pulse Music Publishing, ole, peermusic, Ultra Music, Big Deal Music, Reservoir, Round Hill, TRO Essex Music Group and The Royalty Network filed a lawsuit against Peloton for infringement of more than a thousand musical works, according to a statement from the National Music Publishers Association. The plaintiffs are [...]

  • Brandi Carlile,Maren Morris. Brandi Carlile and

    ACM Awards Add Brandi Carlile, Kelly Clarkson, Dan + Shay to Performance Lineup

    Brooks & Dunn had a hit once called “Put a Girl In It,” and that’s just what the Academy of Country Music Awards have done, adding Kelly Clarkson, Brandi Carlile and Ashley McBryde to the lineup of performers for the April 7 telecast on CBS. While they’re at it, they also added Brooks & Dunn, [...]

  • Phil Anselmo New Zealand Concerts Canceled

    Phil Anselmo Concerts in New Zealand Canceled Over ‘White Power’ Remarks

    In the wake of the terrorists attacks on mosques in New Zealand last week, concerts in the country by former Pantera singer Philip Anselmo and his band the Illegals were cancelled due to statements he made in the past about “white power,” according to the New Zealand Herald. Anselmo was filmed giving a Nazi salute [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content