You use me, I use you


Kanye West recently announced that he plans to charge for appearing on magazine covers in the future.

According to NY Daily News, Kanye said that artists help boost magazine sales by appearing on their covers and that they should get a cut of the publications’ revenues.

“These magazines make money from ads and subscriptions. But I know that part of what drives subscriptions and ads is who these magazines put on the cover,” West offered during a recent brunch in Beverly Hills. “So if you’re putting me on the cover and people are buying your magazine because of me, why shouldn’t I get paid to be on that cover? You are going to have to pay me to do magazine covers now!”

Meanwhile, a survey conducted by Daily News’ Lowdown section revealed that editors from the country’s top magazines are confident that Kanye won’t be able to command a fee to appear on magazine covers.

“Our West Coast editor, Chris Huvane, was at that brunch, and he sent me an e-mail that Kanye West is insane. When I read it, I did a spit-take,” Jim Nelson of GQ magazine told the News. “Kanye clearly does not understand the sacred economics of magazines. We’re notoriously cheap.” Ebony magazine’s Lynn Norment added, “I love Kanye, but we don’t pay for covers. Never have and never will. He has a lot of learning to do.”

This is from the Village Voice’s Music section.

I dunno, Kayne has a point. I mean, the kind of exploitation of artists that has typified the music trade (calling it an industry legitimizes aspects of it that should be more likened to the slave trade… hence the nomenclature “music trade“) has mandated certain compromises. I don’t even want to get into the byzantine accounting practices that fleece artists of their rights and their much-deserved cash- let’s stick to the use of the artists’ likeness and intellectual property to sell MTV and a thousand shite magazines without ANY compensation to the artist.

This is the sort of anti-exploitation move that bands like Gang of Four and Fugazi were on about, but they never had the kind of commercial firepower that rap artists have. It’s about economies of scale. I think that the press reps that they interviewed doth protest too much. If Missy Elliot and 50 Cent and Eminem and Dead Tupac all said “No more covers unless you pony up,” then I think it’s the skin trade people that have “a lot of learning to do.”

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