Oct 8, 2020
About Our Host
Casey Handy-Smith is a contract
law attorney who helps influencers and creative entrepreneurs who
struggle with navigating the legal side of their online businesses
and brands. Over the past 6 years, Casey has helped creatives
negotiate fair deals while protecting and leveraging their creative
assets with ironclad contracts. Beyond her work with 1-on-1 with
clients, Casey also provides DIY contract templates for
entrepreneurs needing instant clarity and confidence to legally
protect their businesses.
3 Key Takeaways
Leverage is real and knowing how to position yourself to negotiate
is important! Make sure that you come to the table knowing what you
have to offer and already thinking about the terms that will
protect you in the future.
Know your rights (specifically your intellectual property rights)!
Is this my mantra? I think this is now my mantra.
We are not all the same. This is more apparent now than ever, in
America. The deal Kanye wants artists to have actually already
exists (à la Taylor Swift). Kanye’s new mission isn’t all about
Kanye, you know. On Sunday (September 20th), West tweeted: “This is
a call for all artist[s] to unify … I will get my masters, I got
the most powerful lawyer in music and I can afford them but every
artist must be freed and treated fairly.” In addition, West tweeted
new “guidelines” for recording and publishing contract templates he
wants to see adopted industrywide.
Background of the Situation:
his latest string of tweets about his recording deals Wednesday,
Kanye West said he was going to upload his Universal Records
contracts, while once again referring to the music industry as
are my ten Universal contracts … I need every lawyer in the world
to look at these," he shared before telling followers that the PDFs
would not load on Twitter. Twenty minutes later, he shared
screengrabs of 10 documents that included what appeared to be
several amendments, a profit sharing agreement, and a recording
agreement. He tweeted of the images: "This is what me Kanye West
deal looks like today … I PRAY IN THE NAME OF JESUS THAT IT DONT
LOOK LIKE THIS TOMORROW."
had spent much of Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning posting
a series of more than two dozen tweets, some featuring favorite
Bible verses, others pointed missives at the music industry
demanding that what he claimed were overly complicated contracts be
[Sidenote - 8:08] – Keep your ears to the ground:
- Understanding the types of deals and contracts
that your peers are getting helps in your negotiations. So,
networking and talking to others in your industry will help you get
the best deals possible.
an artist refers to their “master recordings,” they are referring
to the original recordings of their music (as opposed to the
composition itself). The owner of these master rights, along with
the copyright owner, controls where the recording itself is
licensed and earns money from it.
- Labels often secure an artist’s master rights
in exchange for promotion and support during the recording process.
These deals allow the label to release an artist’s music and earn
money through its distribution and licensing. They customarily
arrange deals in which an artist receives royalties once they
recoup the advance given by the label to record their
- Writers generally maintain the copyright to
their music, which affords them certain rights with how it is used.
They often work in tandem with the label when the music is licensed
Interesting points in this situation:
sued Roc-A-Fella last year, as well as Universal and his publishing
company, EMI. In the EMI suit, which has since been settled, he
appeared as a plaintiff alongside a newly formed company, “Please
Gimme My Publishing Inc.” Kanye is now waging the same battle
against Universal for his recorded copyrights, a.k.a. his
- Kanye’s Twitter ultimatum may not elicit
widespread sympathy from the artist community: For one thing, the
contracts posted by West revealed Universal paid him an $8 million
advance for his sixth studio album, Yeezus (2013), not including an
additional $4 million with which to clear samples and make the
record. Universal also paid him a $3 million advance, plus a $3
million recording/clearance budget, for The Life of Pablo (2016).
Your common or garden-variety megastar just doesn’t get handed this
kind of money from their record label. But there are also reasons
for Kanye to be optimistic about at least some of his stated
objectives regarding the reclamation of his masters. Here are three
of them, connected to a trio of fellow superstars.
[20:48] – Key
- Leverage is real and knowing how to position
yourself to negotiate is important!
your rights (specifically your intellectual property rights)! This
is now my motto.
deal Kanye wants artists to have actually already exists (à la
Taylor Swift). Kanye’s new mission isn’t all about Kanye. West
tweeted new “guidelines” for recording and publishing contract
templates he wants to see adopted industrywide.
Resources Mentioned During The Episode
Megan Thee Stallion Contract Case