Photo Credit: The Come Up Show / CC by 2.0
Jay-Z says after his fight to secure the ownership of his masters from Def Jam, he’s not eager to put the catalog up for sale any time soon.
The rapper made the comments in an interview with CBS News, recorded at the ‘Book of HOV’ exhibit at the Brooklyn Public Library. Gayle King brings up how many artists are cashing in for big bucks to sell their music rights, but Jay-Z says that’s not a decision for him, but for his children to make well in the future.
“I get why people do it,” he tells Gayle. “I’ve been fortunate enough to make money in t his place, but for me, [getting my own rights] was the fight of my life.”
Jay-Z’s label Roc-A-Fella allied with Def Jam ahead of the release of his second album in 1997. Def Jam obtained the rights to the rapper’s recordings through that deal. However, he was able to re-negotiate the masters back when he became President of the Universal division in 2004.
“You know from being an independent company from the beginning and then going through the Def Jam system, not really understanding how that works, and them having my masters,” Jay-Z shakes his head. “Then going back to Def Jam as the President and then saying, ‘okay, I’ll do this job and part of this job is my masters have to be reverted back to me. I want my kids to see my work and if they decide to sell it—then it’s up to them.”
Jay-Z’s comments about potentially selling his catalog seem to mirror Mick Jagger’s thoughts. Jagger estimates that his music catalog is worth about $500 million, but the 80-year-old says he has no plans to sell his IP any time soon. When asked why not strike a deal for his kids, he says “the children don’t need $500 million to live well.”
While Paul Simon says he sold his catalog to BMG because his kids simply aren’t interested in administering his body of work. “My kids aren’t interested in running my publishing company,” Simon said during an interview on SiriusXM. “They don’t want to make a decision about whether ‘Homeward Bound’ should be a commercial—and I don’t blame them.”