The rapper, who is also trying to become US president this year, made clear his intentions to buy the entire company after having vocalised his concerns for the music industry across a number of tweets in recent times, especially when it comes to an artist’s contract terms, masters, and overall rights they have.
The record producer recently appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience and his plans, saying, ‘I’m going to buy Universal. I was thinking about buying my masters [but] I realised that was too small of a thought. I’m going to buy Universal.’ he further explained, as he expressed worry over singers not owning the rights to their material.
He then expressed concern over artists not owning the rights to their material:
[Universal is] only a $33bn organisation. I’m one of the greatest product producers that ever existed. And I’m a child; I’m 43 years old. I was $53m in debt four years ago. Now it’s proven that I’m the new Michael Jordan of products.
In September, West spoke about his decision to give back the 50% masters rights to the artists he held on his G.O.O.D. Music record label. In an interview with Billboard, the star vowed he would be ‘doing whatever is necessary so artists own their own copyrights’.
Towards the end of September, he tweeted to his 31 million followers that he’d be giving the shares he owned back to the artists, writing, ‘I’m giving all Good music artist back the 50% share I have of their masters.’
Unsurprisingly, it was met with unanimous praise, receiving some 20,000 retweets and generating thousands of positive comments.
Furthermore, the Jesus Walks singer acknowledged that the music industry as a whole was not working to serve its creators.
‘Everyone knows this is a broken system that needs to be fixed,’ West claimed. ‘Currently, artists take advances to make records and yet when they repay those advances the record company still owns the records. Imagine a bank lending you money to buy a house and then when you’ve repaid that mortgage, them telling you they still own it.’
It’s fair to say he makes a very good point, so it’ll set an interesting precedent when he does officially go through with his plans in terms of the contractual knock-on effects elsewhere in the music industry.