Wednesday, April 24, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: Kanye West’s “Vultures 1” Distributor Rejected His Release Last Friday, So He Sneaked Upload Anyway


Here’s the update on “Vultures 1,” Kanye West’s new album.

Kanye uploaded the album to all the streaming services through a service called FUGA, which is owned by Downtown Music here in New York. He did the upload on Saturday, when no one was paying attention. It seems like when Downtown/FUGA realized what happened, they pulled it off as many streaming services as possible.

West apparently did the upload on Saturday, after being rejected by FUGA on Friday. It seems he did it behind their backs, but they’re not commenting.

I’ve been directed to a statement they made earlier:

“Late last year, FUGA was presented with the opportunity to release Vultures 1. Exercising our judgment in the ordinary course of business, we declined to do so.”

“On Friday, February 9, 2024, a long-standing FUGA client delivered the album Vultures 1 through the platform’s automated processes, violating our service agreement. Therefore, FUGA is actively working with its DSP partners and the client to remove Vultures 1 from our systems.”

FUGA now tells me they’re totally out of this, and they’ve been informed there’s a new distributor.

Currently, “Vultures” is off of iTunes/Apple and Amazon. It still seems to be on Spotify, although one track is missing. That’s because the Donna Summer estate filed a take down notice over an unauthorized sample.

A couple of “Vultures” tracks are still on iTunes. That’s because Kanye uploaded them through a different service called Create Music from Los Angeles. It’s unclear if they will follow suit.

So the reason for all this does seem to be objections to West’s antisemitic statements, and maybe because the album is explicit and vulgar. Kudos to these people for exacting editorial control. But the removal has nothing to do with the streamers. It’s the distributor. The streamers — Apple, Amazon, etc — just want to make money. They have no moral imperative.

Big stars have labels that do the uploading. But without a label, West is left to these devices, using an indie distributor. Even when he was signed to DefJam he often uploaded material without telling anyone. But that was before he was revealed as an admirer of Hitler.


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.

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