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Kanye West and EMI confirm settlement deal close

By | Published on Thursday 16 January 2020

Kanye West

Kanye West and EMI Music Publishing have reached another “agreement in principle” that should finally settle their year-long contract dispute.

West sued EMI a year ago in a bid to get out of his ongoing contractual commitments to the Sony/ATV-owned publisher. He sued in the Californian courts citing the rule under a state law that says that no one can be forced into a service contract that lasts longer than seven years. West started working with EMI in 2003 meaning, he argued, his commitments to the company ended in 2010.

Whether or not California’s seven year rule applies to record and publishing contracts has long been debated in the US music industry. Though in a countersuit, EMI pointed out that its deals with West fall under the laws of New York State anyway, where there is no seven year rule, meaning many of the rapper’s key arguments were irrelevant.

Efforts to settle the dispute were ongoing for much of last year, and in September legal reps for both sides said that an “agreement in principle” had been reached and that a settlement should be signed and sealed “within 90 days”. Then, just before Christmas, EMI filed new papers with the New York courts seeking to reopen its case because “unfortunately, as of today’s date, the parties have been unable to finalise the terms of a settlement agreement”.

Although that was possibly a sign that settlement talks had hit a wall, it actually seemed more likely that EMI was just buying some time, because the court had set a deadline of 27 Dec for the publisher to reopen its lawsuit. Confirming that theory, a new court filing made this week states that “the parties are very close to finalising a settlement agreement and expect to have a final settlement agreement by 15 Feb”.

Needless to say, terms of that deal are not known.