Ye – formerly Kanye West – has lost partnerships with fashion brands such as Gap, Balenciaga and Adidas after making anti-Semitic remarks in recent weeks.Now, the problem still exists On the business that originally helped Ye break into fashion: music.
Since 2004’s “The College Dropout” – his critically acclaimed and commercially successful debut album – Yeh has been one of the most popular and famous artists in the world. According to Billboard, he has countless hits and 10 number one albums.
But all of that could be at risk due to the performers’ recent actions and comments.
Over the past month, Ye has drawn a backlash by wearing a “White Man’s Lives Matter” T-shirt and threatening Jews on Twitter. This has led retailers, social media platforms, fashion and entertainment companies to dump him.
But what does this mean for Ye’s music career?
Universal Music Group – one of the world’s largest record labels – said on Tuesday that its relationship with Yeh would end in 2021, adding that “there is no place for anti-Semitism in our society”.
“Def Jam’s relationship with Ye as a recording artist, Def Jam’s partnership with GOOD Music Records, and Ye’s merchandise agreement with Bravado all end in 2021,” UMG said in a statement to CNN Business.
The company added, “We are firmly committed to fighting anti-Semitism and all other forms of bigotry.”
Serona Elton, a professor of music industry studies at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music, believes Yeh’s music career now needs to be divided into two parts: “What will happen to the market with his existing music? What will happen to any new concerts he might create? ”
“Of course there will be people who will change their minds about him and they will make up their minds from now on,” Elton said. “But there will be other people who either don’t understand the situation or don’t care about his views at all, who will choose to focus only on his artistry.”
Some people have stopped listening.
According to Variety, between Oct. 13 and Oct. 20, Yeh’s songs saw a 23 percent drop in U.S. traffic and a 13 percent drop in plays. This has led some to ask whether his songs should be banned from streaming services such as Spotify (SPOT) and Apple (AAPL) Music.
Elton said that was unlikely.
“I don’t think music services generally involve assessing an artist’s moral standing,” she said.
Elton noted that singer R. Kelly, who was convicted in September on multiple child pornography charges, did not delete his music.
Spotify Chief Executive Daniel Ek told Reuters on Tuesday that Spotify would not remove Ye’s music unless his label asked for it to be removed.
“It’s really just his music, and his music doesn’t violate our policies,” I said. “It depends on his label, whether they want to take action.”
I added that Yeh’s remarks were “just bad reviews”.
As for Apple Music, it did not immediately respond to CNN Business’ request for comment on Ye’s music.
One area that could have financial implications for Ye and Universal Music Group is his music licensing.
Even after the recent backlash, listeners are likely to keep buying his albums, attending his concerts and playing his songs. However, it’s a steeper hill to convince filmmakers, TV producers and advertisers to spend the big bucks to connect with Ye and his songs, no matter how popular his music is.
“I’d be surprised if you see Universal or any company willing to invest in aggressively trying to promote Ye’s songs for licensing opportunities,” Elton said. “I think they’re going to move their energies elsewhere.”