Kanye West’s First Independent Album Grossed Over $1M in Its First Week
  • Kanye West posted “NEW RECORDING AND PUBLISHING DEAL GUIDELINES” on Twitter, now X, in September 2020. He demanded artist-friendly income splits (80 percent for musicians) and simple contracts.
  • West said, “The artist owns the copyright in the recordings and songs and rents them to the record company / publisher for a limited term.”   
  • He used this same model for his latest album, Vultures 1 with “Label Engine,” to secure streaming. This deal outside of the major label structure implies West and Ty Dolla $ign may be bringing home more than the 80 percent the rapper tweeted about in 2020.
  • Label Engine claims clients get 82.5 percent of income, but artists like West may likely increase that amount.
  • Vultures 1, which opened at number one on the Billboard 200, made a little over $1 million in its first week in the US, largely from streaming ($892,000 from close to 169 million on-demand streams) and sales of $145,000. If West and Ty Dolla $ign distribute 5 percent, which may be considerable, they take home $986,000 and even more with worldwide streams and publication.
  • What do you think of Kanye’s new model for distributing music?