×
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

  • Kanye West Is Looking For ‘Metal

    Kanye West Is Looking For ‘Metal Gear Solid’ Creator Hideo Kojima in NY

    American rapper and fashion designer Kanye West took to Twitter on Friday in an attempt to reach out to creator of “Metal Gear Solid” Hideo Kojima, and seemingly set up a meeting while both are in New York. “Heard Hideo Kojima is in NY We need to meet Does anyone know where he is or [...]

  • Cardi B

    Offset Crashes Cardi B's Set at Rolling Loud Festival (Watch)

    Migos rapper Offset is continuing a public display of contrition to win back wife and fellow rapper Cardi B. Appearing onstage at the Rolling Loud Festival in Los Angeles on Saturday night, Offset surprised the crowd at the Banc of California Stadium by appearing during Cardi’s set with flowers and a cake and displaying the [...]

  • Peter Bjorn and John -Björn Yttling

    As Peter Bjorn & John Celebrates 20 Years, the Band Returns to its 'Darker' Roots

    A trifecta of pure energy hit the stage at the Teragram Ballroom in Downtown Los Angeles Saturday night as Peter Bjorn & John performed the second-to-last stop of a 2018 tour. Promoting their new album “Darker Days,” which dropped October 19, the band went back to basics as a three-piece for this outing (drummer John [...]

  • Adam Levine Cardi B

    Maroon 5 and How the Super Bowl Halftime Show Became Music's Least Wanted Gig

    Who would have thought that the Super Bowl Halftime show, an American institution watched by more than 100 million people, would become the least wanted gig in music? But thanks to the ongoing controversy concerning the NFL’s stance on a player’s right to protest, brought to the forefront by football’s top conscientious objector Colin Kaepernick, [...]

  • Mary Poppins 1964

    P.L. Travers' Efforts to Adapt 'Mary Poppins' for Film, TV Were Often Less Than Jolly

    Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” a sequel decades in the making, opens Dec. 19. Even before the 1964 original, Hollywood made several attempts to adapt P.L. Travers’ books, with Samuel Goldwyn and Katharine Hepburn among those involved in the chase. But aside from a one-hour 1949 CBS television version, they all hit a dead-end. The first [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content