Drake Tells Universal Music To Stop Taking Down The Music He's Leaking

from the stop-it dept

It’s been an interesting week for Universal Music. The company was outed for their secret war on various hiphop blogs, including some of the sites of their own artists, such as 50 Cent, whose personal site was declared a “pirate” site on a list that Universal helped put together. Now, super popular Universal artist Drake is lashing out at Universal for issuing takedowns over his own music. Apparently, like many artists who value the promotion, he’s been leaking his own tracks to the various hiphop sites and blogs that Universal has declared evil. And Universal has been taking them down, leading Drake to tell them to stop:

Now, as I’m sure people will quickly point out, he signed a contract with Universal, and that means he almost certainly handed over the rights to the music in question. To some extent, you can argue that if he was doing it for the people instead of for Universal Music, he shouldn’t have signed a deal that gave all the rights to Universal Music.

However, even granting that, this shows yet again how far out of touch Universal Music is, and how its claims that it’s protecting “artists” are full of it. The artists know how promotion works these days. Universal Music, apparently, does not.

And this raises a much bigger issue: as ICE continues to seize domains and the PROTECT IP Act continues to move forward, are these really “rogue sites”? After all, if the artists themselves find them valuable as a means of promotion, and disagree with their own labels about whether or not these sites are useful, why is the government solely relying on the labels’ definition of “rogue” sites?

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Comments on “Drake Tells Universal Music To Stop Taking Down The Music He's Leaking”

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43 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You hit it exactly. He sounds like he wants the money, the advances, the album sales, and the big piles of cash that come with it, but he wants to keep street cred and be able to “leak” his stuff without approval.

Total fail. He is under contract, and he should act like it. Whiner.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Marcus, as always you miss the point. If he was working with them instead of against them, you might have a point. But clearly he isn’t working with his label. He was more than happy to work with them on the way up, and now that they have paid his way to the top, suddenly he no longer wants to work within his contract.

It isn’t about 21st century promotions, it’s about respecting a contract that you sign.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Uh, I think you have his story a little backwards. Drake gained almost ALL his fame before being signed, with independently released mixtapes. He was the first independent artist to have a video featured on BET. When he joined Lil Wayne’s crew Cash Money, he did so with the agreement that he would not be signing to their record label. Only recently did he finally give in and sign.

I agree that, ultimately, he has to play by the rules he signed – which is why I hope he drops his contract over this. But your notion that he used the labels then abandoned them is completely incorrect – he made his own career, then agreed to let the labels share in it after years of independent success.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

So, it took you 10 hours to come up with exactly the same thing Marcus said in the message you’re responding to:

“I agree that, ultimately, he has to play by the rules he signed – which is why I hope he drops his contract over this.”

Do you have anything to say about the false assumptions you came up with before Marcus corrected you, or are you going to just ignore them as usual?

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I don’t think he actually read my comment. Notice how he is still trying to belittle Drake – “go entertain himself on his website” – as if nobody would care about him when he left his label.

This guy is, apparently, literally incapable of understanding that a musician can be successful without a label. Perhaps he works for one. He may also be a middle-aged lead guitarist in a struggling band with 30-year-old dreams about becoming the next Rolling Stones. I can’t be sure. What I can be sure of, though, is that he’s not worth talking to.

Marcus Carab (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

You know, the point of this whole story was never to say that Universal violated his rights. Clearly they are operating well within the contract they signed. But THAT’s the point: it’s one more example of how out of touch the labels are, and how their archaic contract terms and completely obsolete approach to promotions are more likely to hinder an artist than help them.

But since you still seem to think Drake wouldn’t be anywhere without label help (the exact opposite of the truth – so you, like Righthaven, are either being disingenuous or willfully dishonest) I don’t expect you to understand any of this.

Anonymous Coward says:

Can’t comment on whatever contract he may have with UM since there is no copy in hand.

Can say this, however. If he transferred all rights to a third party (with nothing held back), and for the transfer he received something of value in return (a classic contract), then he is welching on his contract…suggesting to me that his word is not his bond.

This situation may happen to involve music, but the issue is something entirely different.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

…and if this applies there may be a case for claiming that UM is in breach of contract. Like I said, however, one really needs a copy of the contract in hand to make any definitive comments.

As for “gross”, it is simply amazing how many people who sign royalty bearing contracts do not appreciate the significance of the words “gross” and “net”. They think “Hey, % of ‘net’ sounds darn good to me.” Of course, after accountant wizardry, ‘net’ tends to be little more than miniscule.

out_of_the_blue says:

"Universal needs to stop taking my fucking songs down."

Since this is contract, let’s parse this as lawyers might.

1) “@hardraknoir” doesn’t /tell/ them to stop, just opines that they “need” to do… something, because:

2) Vague on subject: what or which from qualifier “fucking” may be an entirely different genre or collection.

3) “taking” them “down” also vague, doesn’t necessarily mean “stop copyright enforcement”.

4) “Universal” is but part name, could be, er, universally applied and hence, not directed at who you assume.

5) From the above, Drake may well recognize the contract he’s under and be skirting it, as an AC above opines.

So this is just Mike yet again slanting ambiguity to serve his purpose.

Anonymous Coward says:

What an idiot

He’s essentially trying to bleed his record company that built him up and pays his promotion. He wants them to keep spending money on him, but he doesn’t want to give them sales as a route to recoup those expenses.

If he didn’t want a record deal, why didn’t he just release the music himself? Or sign with an indie who might have permitted this?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: What an idiot

Yes the record label did build him up. If he could have done it himself he would have. Why did he sign to a major record label? Because he wanted major label promotion and distribution. What a whiny hypocritical brat. Either do it yourself, and don’t sign, or sign, and respect your contract. What’s so hard to understand about that?

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: What an idiot

“What a whiny hypocritical brat.”

Wow, so he signs a contract with a major label, hoping to access the resources that he can use to take his career to the next level and reach a mainstream audience more easily than he might be able to do alone. Instead, he finds that not only do the label have no clue about how to market in the 21st century, they actively get in the way of his own attempts at getting exposure.

I agree he should have been able to have predicted this outcome, and he is bound by a contract he decided to agree to. However, his pointing out how badly the labels are interfering with his promotional material is neither hypocritical nor whiny, just as those of us who point out the problems with the labels from the outside are neither “pirates” nor “freetards”. We’re simply showing the realities of the labels and how broken they are, how utterly unprepared they are for the 21st century marketplace, over a decade into it.

“Why did he sign to a major record label? Because he wanted major label promotion and distribution.”

…and as many artists are finding out the hard way, sometimes neither is worth the paper the contract is written on. They’re so scared of “piracy” they will actively sabotage the promotion of their own products…

Anonymous Coward says:

Drake became a superstar because of the free music he released online, namely his mixtape So Far Gone. All released online for free.

Drake KNOWS how to promote in the digital age, he knows it equals more sales and more popularity. Without this type of promotion Universal would not have had the opportunity to sign and make money off him

The labels continue to prove how out of touch they are. Checkout the latest deal with 50 Cent signing Shawty Lo. That’s the way the industry is moving and the labels are being left behind.

Anonymous Coward says:

Something I forget to mention in my previous post, Drake actually signed with Lil Wayne’s Young Money/Cash Money imprint (his management is independent of all of this) who has a distribution deal with Universal.

So Drake, who built his own career releasing his music for free online, who has independent management, who has his label duties performed via Cash Money/Young Money, is having his DISTRIBUTION partner take down songs he posts himself on his own blog. That’s why he says “your label”. He doesn’t consider himself to be on Universal (which he technically isn’t).

Pretty unbelievable right?

Justin Olbrantz (Quantam) (user link) says:

Re: Re:

Well, that’s a given, as that’s the very definition of a troll – someone who goes where they’re not wanted for the purpose of attacking/insulting/annoying people or disrupting other conversation. Trolls as a rule have little/no concern whether they win their arguments or convince anyone of anything, as debating/persuasion was never their primary purpose to begin with.

darryl says:

Leaked the music, not the copyright to that music.

once again, why cant you work out the difference between giving someone a sample of a song, or the complete works, and yet NOT ASSIGN COPYRIGHT to that person.

When I purchase a CD, I purchase the content, I do not purchase the copyright for that content.

When a record company gives away samples of it’s offerings, they are doing just giving away samples, they are NOT giving away or signing the copyright rights to you, or them.

And Mike, why are you not able to work THAT OUT ?????

DRIZZYlover says:

@Anonymous Coward

Youre a fucking idiot and know nothing about the music industry, he isnt a whiner, just because someone signs a contract and wants to make money making music and doing what he loves doesnt make him a whiner you idiot.. He wants to do things his way and get his music out there the best way possible and Universal is taking that away from him.

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