Thursday, June 20, 2024

Remember Kanye West’s $200 Stem Player? He Doesn’t Appear to Own the Trademark


You may recall that Kanye West’s last album, “Donda 2,” wasn’t released in a traditional way. Instead of a CD or a stream or a download it came on a $200 gadget called the Stem Player.

The Stem Player, which looks like a large hard plastic Valium, lights up. It also makes it possible to play with the elements of the music contained on it, changing he emphasis of vocals or beats. It was the brainchild of London’s Kano Computing, owned by a young guy from America named Alex Klein.

Now that Kanye’s businesses have gone sideways, it seemed like a good time to check in on the Stem Player and see who owns it. Well, it turns out Kano Computing applied for the trademark in the UK and here. Kanye did not. It does seem as though Kanye’s connection to the Stem Player was tenuous at best. Kano owns the player. Kanye just owns the music on it in the “Donda 2” edition.

Back on October 16th, when Kanye’s problems were escalating, Klein posted some odd images to social media. One was of the famous Delacroix painting called “Liberty Leading the People,” which shows the French revolution of 1830. Attached to that picture is a video of three little boys pitching what looks like Stem Players (maybe they’re just SuperBalls) as if they were bowling.

Was Klein declaring some kind of independence?

Klein also posted a message from Kanye’s lawyers asking for a way to contact Kano’s lawyers. There was paperwork that needed to be completed.

Kano, meantime, is proceeding with groundbreaking computer inventions. It’s unclear how many Stem Players they sold, if anyone made any money, or if they’ll ever be seen again. One thing’s clear, no one else issued an album on a Stem Player.

PS Klein is half-Jewish and may not be amused with Kanye’s anti-Semitic declarations.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

Read more

In Other News