Kanye West has now seen his music impacted by his recent controversial statements, as Apple Music has removed access to at least a portion of his catalog from its platform.
As of Thursday (October 27), the streaming service’s “Kanye West Essentials” playlist was no longer accessible, though Ye’s catalog remains available to users. Apple Music has not issued a statement about the removal of the playlist or the future of the company’s relationship with Ye.
Spotify, on the other hand, has stated that it will not be removing any of his music from its service, as Kanye’s artistic output itself has not violated any of its hate speech policies. The company’s CEO Daniel Ek, who called the comments Kanye West has made in recent interviews “awful,” told Reuters that, if similar comments were accessible on Spotify via podcast interviews, for example, his team would take a different approach.
“It’s really just his music, and his music doesn’t violate our policy,” Ek said, “It’s up to his label, if they want to take action or not.”
The label in question would be Def Jam, through which Kanye West released 10 of his 11 solo albums; his collaborations with JAY-Z and Kid Cudi; and the 2012 G.O.O.D. Music compilation album Cruel Summer. While the label owns the copyrights to all of Ye’s recordings between 2002 and 2016, a spokesperson for Def Jam told The Hollywood Reporter that their contract ended with the 2021 release of Donda.
“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 label said in a statement. “There is no place for antisemitism in our society. We are deeply committed to combating antisemitism and every other form of prejudice.”
By seemingly distancing itself from Kanye West, Apple Music joins a growing list of companies and entities to have severed ties with the artist following antisemitic statements made on interviews with Drink Champs and Piers Morgan Uncensored.
First to jump ship was Balenciaga and its parent company Kering who, despite having had Kanye open their Paris Fashion Week show earlier this month, said that as of October 21, “Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist.”
adidas followed suit, announcing earlier this week that the company had decided to “terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies.”
In a statement, the company added: “Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous, and they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness. adidas will stop the adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect.”
NFL star Aaron Donald and the Boston Celtics’ Jaylen Brown terminated their relationship with Donda Sports on the same day.
The professional hits all came within days of a new $250 million lawsuit being filed by the family of George Floyd, over Kanye declaring that Floyd died of a fentanyl overdose and not at the hands of Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin.