Kanye posts photos of his record deal amid dispute

Kanye West, who is demanding to be released from his recording and publishing deals, has uploaded photos of his contracts to Twitter.

“I need every lawyer in the world to look at these,” he told his followers, while referring to the music industry as “modern-day slavery”.

Taking aim at the wider music industry, he later posted a video of someone urinating on a Grammy award.

West says he won’t release new music until he is released from his deals.

The cache of documents he posted on Wednesday night included details of advance payments for his albums, royalty rates, a profit sharing agreement, and several amendments.

Some are only partially complete, and their validity has not been corroborated – but they appear to show that West was given a $12m (£9.2m) advance for his sixth album, Yeezus, and receives royalties of between 14% and 25% on his sales and streams.

According to music industry lawyer Aurelia Butler-Ball, such multi-million-dollar advance payments are “rare in today’s industry, because the money just isn’t there”. However, West’s royalty rates are typical of the deals she sees for her clients.

“If the label is going to take the risk and give that upfront investment, then they want the majority of the income when the record is sold,” she told the BBC.

“A very high-profile, well-established artist can sometimes negotiate slightly higher royalty rates, but that’s really just the industry standard.”

Butler-Ball, who is a senior associate at Irwin Mitchell, said it was “difficult to pinpoint” West’s aim in revealing his densely-worded contracts, but it appeared that his relationship with the label was irreparably damaged.

“Ultimately, the success of a record deal isn’t necessarily how good the contract is. It’s about the strong relationship between the artist and the [people] at the record label.

“And once that relationship has broken down, which it looks like here, it’s very hard to have success with each other, and make good music together, no matter what the contract says.”

Universal have yet to respond to West’s statements.


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