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Kanye West Is Shopping a New Album to Distributors

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Kanye West and Ty Dolla $ign are shopping for a partner to distribute their forthcoming collaborative album — and sources tell Billboard they are considering five different offers. West “will make a decision soon,” says one source. And while sources say the album release was originally planned for Friday (Oct. 13), it was pushed back and is expected to land in the coming weeks.

The project has record industry executives weighing the risks and rewards of releasing what some who’ve heard the music say is West’s best music in at least five years, since 2018’s Ye, but at an especially fraught time as the conflict between Israel and Hamas intensifies following the surprise attack on the Supernova Sukkot Gathering music festival on Oct. 7.

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Some label leaders have passed on the opportunity to distribute the project given the antisemitic comments West began making almost exactly a year prior, beginning Oct. 8, 2022 — even though the music itself isn’t controversial lyrically, sources say. But there are a multitude of smaller distributors in fierce competition for whom such a release could be game-changing, given the two artists’ streaming histories. One such possible company is Too Lost, the music distribution and publishing company that launched in 2021 and currently represents West’s rights on YouTube. (When reached for comment, Too Lost CEO Gregory Hirschhorn declined to comment.)

The last time West and Ty Dolla $ign released a collaboration was “Junya Pt 2” on Ye’s 2021 album, Donda. Before that, they worked together on Ty Dolla $ign’s “Ego Death” (2020) and on West’s “Everything We Need” (2019), “Real Friends” (2016) and “Only One” (2014).

After releasing 10 albums on Def Jam, Donda was West’s last release with the label. His 2022 album, Donda 2, was exclusively released on the Stem Player, and later that year, following West’s antisemitic comments, a spokesperson for Def Jam parent company Universal Music Group denounced his rhetoric and distanced the company from the artist. “Def Jam’s relationship with Ye as a recording artist, Def Jam’s partnership with the GOOD Music label venture and Ye’s merchandise agreement with Bravado all ended in 2021,” the rep said.

West has not officially released any new music since then, and industry watchers have wondered what kind of route he might take when he decided to make his return. Owning all his copyrights, West also has the option to self-release his music through a do-it-yourself service such as Distrokid or Tunecore for a modest one-time fee, but may favor a boutique distribution service that would pay an advance for the deal, provide a more personalized approach and work directly with streaming services for promotion and editorial placements.

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