Kanye’s 7 Sane ‘Guidelines’ for Fairer Recording and Publishing Deals
In the last couple of weeks Kanye West is using his twitter platform to talk about how he is trying to get control of all of his recording and publishing rights back. As part of his very public campaign, West came with a eight-part description of what he sees as fair record and publishing deals.
1. The artist owns the copyright in the recordings and songs
1. The artist owns the copyright in the recordings and songs and leases them to the record label / publisher for a limited term. 1 year deals— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
2. The record label / publisher is a service provider
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— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
If you sign a deal with a major label this could be a great starting point on the position a label has over your created work. For independent labels or artists this is very hard to realize due to the simple fact they have a smaller say in the amount they get from streaming services. a 50/50 split or 40/60 for independent labels would be more suitable and sustainable for both parties involved.
3. DEPENDANTS— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
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.
For sure you as the creator knows you music and the end goal you want to reach. Advise and legal advice is always important to take note of and let you be inspired by take your own conclusions and follow your own paths. Just be vocal and stand up for your own rights.
4. LAWYERS— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
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.
5. Equity and blanket licenses
5. EQUITY & BLANKET LICENSES ARE THE MAJORITY OF FUTURE NEW INCOME.— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
If you’re with a major you have invested your ‘songs’ as shares in their power to get equity and deals. Almost ALL new deals now are based on ALL songs going to a store or app. The equity is the Artists
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.— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
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.— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
A blanket license is where a record label (or any group of owners) can authorize a set of rights to the user such that the user does not need to acquire specific permits. In certain ways that are used, blanket licenses make music licensing simpler for the licensing group. As an example, TikTok and Facebook have complete licenses to use music on their platforms. In much the same way, bars and restaurants obtain blanket licenses from ASCAP and BMI to play songs at their establishments.
Without a general license, Facebook and TikTok would need to obtain individual licensing applications from all artists on their own; a process that would take time, effort, and energy. Blanket Licenses are a simple, inexpensive solution to a problem that is otherwise very difficult to solve.
The power that major labels have over digital stores and streaming platforms is unheard of! having so much leverage on a platform that they can decide how much and how quickly they get payed where as an independent gets just the scraps that the majors left behind. take a look at this tweet by Cherie Hu who exposed the injurious equity the majors have
6. ADVANCES ARE JUST LOANS!!
5. ADVANCES ARE JUST LOANS!!— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
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.
Never take an advance even if it’s an offer you can’t resist. These loans you get are the things that kill artists and be also vigilant for the recouple fees that can and will be withheld from your royalties. Release parties, dinners, or drinks with the label executives can then all be withheld from your royalties and you would never know that it’s happening.
7. Royalties and delivery
6. ROYALTIES— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
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
Income per song
It sounds basic and logical but t 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— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
Royalty department in EVERY label. No more separating finance teams from the music
As West is saying “It sounds basic and logical”. Sadly this is not the truth many labels and there distributors pay per quarter and you have no real sight on your stream. Spotify for artist gives you fairly good overview of streams and territory but many other can stil learn a lot from them. As an label to track all this data from all the different stores is almost impossible and we should look at ways to change this.
7. PORTALS— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
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.
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— ye (@kanyewest) September 20, 2020
This is why we need blockchain in the music industry decentralise all your assets and over time give it all back to the owner and or have a contract renewal. Artist should own there work and there creative expression.