Kanye Sues EMI, Def Jam, Roc-A-Fella, and UMG, over Publishing and Recording Contracts
Kanye vs. The Recording Industry.
With his thumbs on a much-needed hiatus, Kanye West is letting litigators do the talking these days. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the embattled Chicago rapper is taking some of the music industry’s largest players (current and defunct) to court over his publishing and recording contracts.
A pair of suits were filed in Los Angeles Superior Court; one aimed at EMI — who’s handled West’s publishing rights since 2003 — another naming Def Jam Records, Roc-A-Fella Records, UMG Recordings, and Bravado International Group (Universal Music Group’s merchandising arm.) Though the files are heavily (almost entirely) redacted, both suits allege that the companies in West’s crosshairs have benefited from “unjust enrichment” under the terms of their current contracts. West is seeking relief and a transfer of property in both claims.
In October of 2018, West sent out a transmission on Instagram Live that expressed his desire and struggle to purchase his own publishing rights back from Sony/ATV (EMI’s parent company.) He claimed to have come to an agreement with the publishing giant that would have reclaimed his ownership for between $8 and $9 million.
“When I went to buy it, they told me ‘No,’ I couldn’t buy my publishing,” adding “I got the money. I’m not gonna say the S-word. I’m not Prince; I don’t need to write it on my face.”