Kanye West Leads Music Industry Revolt over ‘Slave’ Recording Deals: ‘Fair Contracts Matter … Ownership Matters’

Kanye West

Rap superstar Kanye West is leading a revolt against Universal Music Group that has led to music stars lashing out at record labels over the level of control they exert over their artists. The typical music contract, the Grammy-winner says, is lucrative for record labels but leave musicians with little recourse to own their masters.

“When you sign a music deal you sign away your rights,” Kanye West wrote in a series of tweets. “Without the masters you can’t do anything with your own music. Someone else controls where it’s played and when it’s played. Artists have nothing accept the fame, touring and merch.”

The Jesus Is King crooner continued:

We’ve gotten comfortable with not having what we deserve … they allow us to have a little money from touring get some gold chains some alcohol some girls and fake numbers that feed our egos … but we don’t own our masters.

We our [sic] supporting other people’s kids … we could spend our whole life in the music industry but our kids gotta go work for another company when they grow up.


West, who is currently in the midst of an bid for the U.S. presidency, indicated his intention to launch a campaign in favor of fair contracts for musicians.

“I am the only person who can speak on this because I made multi-billions outside of music no musicians make billions inside of music I’m going to change this,” West explained. “I know a lot of musicians are not allowed to say anything but I can’t be muted or canceled so I’m going to say everything as always.”

“We sat back and watched Nick Cannon get canceled and we go to play ball in a bubble with black lives matter on our backs … brothers let’s stand together for real,” he continued. “There is no NBA or music industry without black people … fair contracts matter … ownership matters.” 

The 43-year-old even filmed himself urinating on his Grammy Award.

Watch below:

West’s campaign immediately received support from the likes of English singer-songwriter Boy George, who lashed out at Universal Music, “No record company should own an artist’s music for life and beyond.”

Meanwhile, Grammy-winning super producer Hit-Boy admitted that although he has had beef with Kanye West, he agreed with him that “slave deals are still very real [and] rampant in 2020.”

Questions over artistic rights and ownership have received attention from Congress and President. In 2018, President Trump signed the Music Modernization Act into law, which is intended to update and “close loopholes” in music copyright laws for the digital era. “They were treated very unfairly,” Trump said at the time. “They’re not going to be treated unfairly anymore.”

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