In a recent rant on social media, Kanye West is alleging that, akin to Taylor Swift, the publishing rights to his catalogue are being put up for sale without his permission. In 2019, Swift’s Big Machine Records catalogue – comprised of her first six studio albums – was sold and acquired by various entities without her permission as Scooter Braun bought Swift’s previous record label and, subsequently, the master recordings of her first six studio albums.
Now caught up in a similar situation, West is drawing comparisons but insisting that his catalogue is not up for sale. However, as much as West insists his music is not up for sale, he does not actually own the publishing rights to his catalogue. West’s catalogue is currently administered by Sony Music Publishing, the publishing arm of Sony Music Group (SMG).
According to an inside source who has spoken to music publication Billboard, “Over the past 10 months, representatives for West have met selectively with prospective buyers to explore what kind of valuation his song catalogue could fetch.” Following these various meetings, it is said that West’s catalogue could generate upward of $13.25 million annually and could be sold for an estimated $175 million.
However, this is not the first time West has shown that he is uncomfortable with the fact that several different majors still own the publishing rights to parts of his catalogue and his masters. In 2020, West tweeted out his alleged record contracts with UMG as part of an effort to buy back his master recordings, but it was to no avail.
Kanye West is the wealthiest man in hip hop and is just one of two self-made billionaires in the genre, so it is highly unlikely anybody who has a stake in his music will give it up. However, with his endeavours in fashion now taking off, it looks like perhaps it is West’s Yeezy brand that will be generating future Kanye money. In a recent Instagram story, Kanye wrote, “JUST LIKE TAYLOR SWIFT, MY PUBLISHING IS BEING PUT UP FOR SALE WITHOUT MY KNOWLEDGE. NOT FOR SALE!”
You can learn more about Kanye’s publishing rights in the video below.