“I’m giving all Good music artist[s] back the 50% share I have of their masters,” West tweeted on Wednesday (Sept. 23). Big Sean, who signed with West’s label more than a decade ago, thanked West for the gesture.
Thank you!!! This would help so much 🙏🏾 https://t.co/6yR3fAKlwB
— Sean Don (@BigSean) September 23, 2020
The move comes as West spoke with Billboard to further discuss his plans to “free artists” from oppressive record deals.
“The desired effect will only be achieved when every artist owns their masters,” said West. “I’m Team ‘Free Artists.’ I’m committed to doing whatever is necessary so artists own their own copyrights. The response is awesome because everyone knows this is a broken system that needs to be fixed. Currently, artists take advances to make records and yet when they repay those advances the record company still owns the records.”
West said that he is in talks with Universal, and their parent company Vivendi, but reiterated that he wants to fix “everyone’s situation,” along with his own. “My brand and influence goes way beyond just music and that of course is meaningful to Vivendi, as it is to Adidas and many other conglomerates. If that helps me be able to help free all artists, of course I’m going to use it,” West explained.
“You only need to look back to the early days of the record companies and see how predatory they were,” he continued. “Old execs admit it. The contracts are almost the same now. The shape, the terminology… And yet, in that time we moved to a completely digital age. Has the attitude of the labels and the structure in which our music moves on our side changed to that degree? No, it has not. You’re locked in; once you’re locked in you can ask no questions.”
Despite his feelings on UMG and Sony/ATV, West hasn’t closed the door on working with the label giants in the future. “I will work with anyone who treats artists fairly and righteous. They do that , I will partner with them in bringing music to life. I will redesign the whole process.”