The artist formerly known as Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign are in the market for a distributor for their upcoming joint album, fielding offers from multiple companies. Billboard reported a source close to the artists said West will “make a decision soon.” While initially slated for release on Friday (Oct. 13), the launch has been delayed for undisclosed reasons.
The yet-to-be-released project has started a real conversation among record industry executives. Insiders who’ve heard the music describe it as West’s best work since 2018’s Ye. However, the timing coincides with escalating tensions in the Israel-Hamas conflict, intensified by the recent attack on the Supernova Sukkot Gathering music festival on Oct. 7.
Some label heads have shied away from the opportunity to distribute the album due to antisemitic comments West made last year. Though the album’s lyrics are not the subject of controversy, the artists’ recent history gives some executives a reason for hesitation. Conversely, smaller distributors see this project as a golden opportunity. One such contender is Too Lost, a music distribution and publishing firm that launched in 2021 and currently manages West’s YouTube rights. Too Lost CEO Gregory Hirschhorn declined to comment when reached.
The artists have a history of collaboration. Their previous works include “Junya Pt 2” on West’s 2021 album Donda, Ty Dolla $ign’s “Ego Death” in 2020, and several tracks dating back to 2014. After releasing 10 albums on Def Jam, West parted ways with the label following the release of Donda. His 2022 album, Donda 2, was exclusively available on the Stem Player.
Universal Music Group, the parent company of Def Jam, cut ties with West last year after his antisemitic remarks. A spokesperson stated, “Def Jam’s relationship with Ye as a recording artist… all ended in 2021.”
Now holding all his copyrights, West has various distribution options. He could self-publish through services like DistroKid or TuneCore for a minimal fee. However, industry insiders assume that the decorated emcee will opt for a more hands-on approach from a distribution partner.