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Kanye West adviser claims his masters are worth more than Taylor Swift’s

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Kanye West launched a new social media campaign to gain control of the rights to his recorded music and publishing on Monday night, claiming “I’m not putting no more music out till I’m done with my contract[s]” with his record company, Universal Music Group, and his publisher, Sony/ATV Music Publishing.

He continued his efforts on Tuesday morning with another battery of tweets — one of which features a screenshot of a text from an unnamed adviser apparently claiming that West’s masters are worth more than Taylor Swift‘s.

The adviser writes that he and West can argue that Universal and Sony Music, with whom West has longstanding recorded-music and publishing deals respectively, did not support him fully and can be sued for breach of contract, potentially freeing him from his deals.

“We can argue that Universal and Sony have not supported you fully,” the text reads. “And that as a result, they have breached [the contracts]. This is the lawsuit/ termination nuclear option.

“If we went that route we would litigate and ask for your masters as part of a settlement. This is high risk but high reward strategy,” the message continues. “Re masters ownership we can look into buying. But if Taylor’s cost US$300 million (approx. $411 million) yours would cost a lot more I assume. Remember that if you re-recorded these songs you could own these new masters outright.”

The adviser is referencing the 2019 acquisition of Big Machine Records — which includes the rights to the master recordings of Taylor Swift’s first six albums — by Scooter Braun’s Ithaca Holdings for a reported US$300 million, as well as Swift’s stated plan to record new versions of those songs and thus create new master versions, devaluing the old ones.

Kanye West and Taylor Swift onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theatre on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Getty)

That deal also included the masters of several other artists as well as Swift’s — who is one of the most commercially successful recordings artists in history — so the claim is questionable, if not patently false. The adviser then explores the possibility of a joint venture.

“A much more radical consideration would be to propose an entirely new relationship or joint venture with Universal. One that is equal and not one-sided. I am not sure you are interested in that. But it could be a Yeezy Media/Universal joint venture play but one where you have the power.”

Kanye West and Taylor Swift
Kanye West and Taylor Swift the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards at Radio City Music Hall on September 13, 2009 in New York City. (Getty)

While the terms of West’s deals are not public, standard recording and music-publishing contracts typically do not allow artists to withdraw from the deals whenever they want.

West’s timing may not be coincidental: Vivendi, Universal Music’s parent company, held an investor meeting at the Goldman Sachs Communicopia conference on Tuesday morning.

Along with the text exchange, West tweeted, “No one from Universal or Sony has responded so it’s go time,” and later posted another screenshot of a text from someone claiming that a representative for Vivendi had reached out. An hour later, West posted that the initial phone call with the Vivendi executive “went great … this was a perfect first conversation.”

READ MORE: Taylor Swift vs Kanye West: The full feud timeline

Kanye West
Kanye West is seen performing during a Surprise World AIDS Day (Red) concert at Times Square on December 1, 2014 in New York City. (Getty)

Reps for West, Universal and Sony did not immediately respond to Variety‘s requests for comment.

West has publicly stated that he wants to get out of his label and publishing deals in the past, and even sued the companies in January of last year. One suit was against EMI Music Publishing, with whom he signed in 2003 and which is now owned by Sony/ATV, and the other was against the Universal Music Group companies Roc-a-Fella Records (the formerly Jay-Z-owned record label that released his early albums), Def Jam Records and UMG’s merchandising arm, Bravado.

Both companies counter-sued a few weeks later, and sources say the publishing suit was settled for an undisclosed amount last September — presumably with terms more favourable to West. The Universal litigation is ongoing.

Taylor chatting with Kimye at the 2015 Grammys. (WireImage)

While West’s first several albums have all been certified multi-platinum, his more recent releases have met with less commercial and critical success. His most recent albums Ye and Jesus Is King were both certified gold but were uneven creatively; the latter album reflects his turn toward Christian-based music, as does his delayed album Donda: With Child, which West said would be released over the summer but has not yet materialised.

His erratic release schedule reflects his unpredictable behaviour, related to his bipolar condition, in recent years: He also said he would be issuing an album in 2018 called Yandhi that remains unreleased.

Kristen Bell, throwback photo, Instagram

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Cardi B Sued for Defamation by Group She Called “Racist MAGA Supporters” 

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Cardi B, her sister Hennessy Carolina, and Carolina’s girlfriend Michelle Diaz are all reportedly being sued by a group of beachgoers who claim they’ve been publicly defamed.

The plaintiffs are suing Carolina for assault, battery, defamation, and civil rights violations, and named Cardi and Diaz for defamation and civil rights violations, over an incident that took place on September 6 at Smith Point beach on Fire Island. According to the group’s lawyer John Ray, who spoke with ABC 7 New York, “These peaceful Suffolk County residents were quietly enjoying a Sunday at the Smith Point beach with their families, when rap celebrity Hennessy Carolina suddenly approached them, raging, spitting, insulting, assaulting, defaming, and threatening them, all the while videotaping them because one of them wore a MAGA hat.”

Ray continued, “Then Hennessy, Cardi B, and celebrity model Michelle Diaz deviously edited the videotape and published the edited version all over social media, across the world for all to see, and maliciously falsely labeled these residents and their families as ‘n…s’ and as racists. Real threats of harm were made. They live in fear now. Their reputations have been ruined. We seek substantial damages.”

Carolina shared a video of the altercation on her Instagram Stories on September 6, which her sister then tweeted in a response to Candace Owens’s claim that her music “contributes to the disintegration of black culture and values.” The rapper wrote, “You wanna know why joe gotta talk to me Candice cause I have the #1 song & yet my sister can’t go to the beach in the Hampton’s wit out trump supporters harassing cause they were by themselves & Santa Claus was harassing my sis GF all because they are a Afro/Hispanic gay couple.” She also shared the video in a since-deleted Instagram post, writing, “Meanwhile not only you got racist [MAGA] supporters that are [lynching] ,racist cop shootings and killing black men all cause their leader make them feel like they could do so .My sister couldn’t even park her car today with out this man harassing her girlfriend soon as the camera [came] out they started being sweet.”

Cardi also shared audio recordings of Carolina and Diaz describing the altercation, in which Carolina claimed the group yelled, “get out of here, go to your fucking country,” after hearing them speak Spanish.

The plaintiffs are holding a press conference at their lawyer’s office today to answer further questions about the incident.

A representative for Cardi B did not immediately respond to request for comment.

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Discovery greenlights three home series for HGTV UK

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Discovery UK has commissioned three home improvement-related programs for its HGTV channel.

Anchoring the trio of greenlights is My Mortgage Free Home from Raise the Roof Productions.

The 10 x 60-minute series will spotlight property presenter Amanda Lamb as she helps families who want to move to a mortgage-free home. Lamb will show each family what they could buy if they dumped their mortgage debt by selling their homes and using that equity to buy a mortgage-free home.

Raise the Roof has also been commissioned to produce the 10 x 60-minute Quick Little Builds. Each standalone episode of the series will follow a new family as they set out to build their dream projects. Presenter and architect Gabrielle Omar will follow the action – offering tips and advice – as families design and execute their dream treehouses, home offices, loft conversions and boat and bus builds.

True North Productions, meanwhile, will produce the 16 x 60-minute My Dream Derelict Home in the Sun.

The series will trace property expert Scarlette Douglas (pictured) as she sets out to help Brits determined to acquire their destination dream homes. Douglas will be there every step of the way, walking prospective owners through the renovation and build projects, before revealing whether the buyers have ended up with their dream homes in the sun.

All three series enter into production this month.

My Mortgage Free HomeQuick Little Builds and My Dream Derelict Home in the Sun were ordered by Clare Laycock, SVP and head of lifestyle and entertainment brands at Discovery Networks UK.

Charlotte Reid is head of commissioning and Matt Reid is the commissioning executive for HGTV.

As well, Outline Productions’ Sarah Beeny’s Renovate Don’t Relocate will return to HGTV UK for season three with 15 hour-long episodes.

“Since rebranding Home to HGTV earlier this year, we’ve combined the best British and American home and property shows to inspire viewers to transform their homes,” said Laycock in a statement. “It’s been an exciting six months for the channel with huge gains in audience share fueled by top performing local commissions like Sarah Beeny’s Renovate Don’t Relocate. On the back of this success I’m delighted to announce these new commissions and welcome Amanda Lamb, Scarlette Douglas and Gabrielle Omar to HGTV.”

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Emmys 2020: What to expect from host Jimmy Kimmel

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Jimmy Kimmel returns to host the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards tonight on ABC

Tonight’s Primetime Emmy Awards will be unlike any of the past 71 ceremonies. The event will be broadcast virtually from the actors’ and actresses’ homes and it will be up to host Jimmy Kimmel to keep things running as smoothly as possible.

The ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic forced the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to adapt. The ceremony was changed from the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles to a virtual event, following in the footsteps of countless other television shows, business meetings, classrooms, and more that have gone remote over the past six months. Kimmel will be coming to audiences from an empty Staples Center which should make for a unique viewing experience.

Back in June, it was announced that Kimmel would return to host for the third time. Ever the comedian, Kimmel questioned why and how the Emmys would go on but accepted the job nevertheless. The late-night host has also set expectations very low for tonight’s event and is hoping that things go sideways.

What to expect from Jimmy Kimmel at tonight’s Emmy Awards

But if things do get off track, Kimmel is the perfect person to take the wheel. He’s learned his lesson from the Moonlight/La La Land fiasco at the Oscars a few years ago. And for someone who loves pranks, Kimmel should be able to stay calm if everything around him gets confusing.

However, be on the look out for any rust on Kimmel when he hosts tonight. He hasn’t be in front of a camera since June. Kimmel announced the first of his annual summer vacations and left Jimmy Kimmel Live! in the hands of guest hosts. He had found a groove when it came to hosting his show from home before his vacation so here’s hoping he can pick up where he left off, albeit with a potentially much larger audience watching and coming from an empty arena.

Kimmel’s award show monologues are a major reason why this is his third time hosting the Emmys and why he’s also hosted the Oscars twice. It won’t be as easy this time without an audience laughing. It will also be interesting to see if cameras cut to celebrities at home to see their reactions to Kimmel’s punchlines, which again could make for awkward yet entertaining television.

There will be some presenters at the Staples Center with Kimmel which could help take some of the pressure off of him. They may even be able to help him out with a sketch or a bit to break things up and bring something different to the broadcast. Kimmel told Deadline that he wants to lean in to the inherient ridiculousness of tonight’s event and parody some of the traditional award show tropes.

Kimmel may turn to his nemesis Matt Damon for help. The Damon-Kimmel feud has gone beyond just late-night television, invading the World Series and previous Emmy Award ceremonies. While Kimmel will have to get creative tonight, there is nothing wrong with sticking with an old reliable bit that has yet to go stale.

Kimmel will be back hosting his regular late-night show on Monday. Fans will definitely want to tune in not only for his return but for a recap of everything that happens tonight.

Usually, the day after Kimmel hosts an award show is when viewers are treated to a segment from Jimmy Kimmel Live! sidekick Guillermo. But with no red carpet and no backstage scene this year, it could rob fans of “Back-to-Back” or other antics. Be on the look out for how Kimmel uses Guillermo during the Emmys as a possible of hint about what is coming Monday night.

What are your expectations for Jimmy Kimmel tonight? Are you hoping things get off track or are you hoping for a smooth show? Let us know in the comment section below.

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