Harvey Weinstein Tests Positive for Coronavirus in Prison
Harvey Weinstein has been placed in isolation in prison amid concerns that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
Prison employees who were in contact with Weinstein have also been placed in quarantine to avoid spreading the virus throughout the Wende Correctional Facility, a source in the New York state prison system tells Variety.
“Seven employees that were in direct contact with Mr. Weinstein have been placed in quarantine, and Mr. Weinstein has been placed in an isolation unit in the Wende Correctional Facility,” a prison official said to Variety under the condition of anonymity due to inmate privacy laws.
While the prison official did not confirm that Weinstein has officially tested positive for coronavirus, the source tells Variety that based on the information that the prison has gathered, it appears Weinstein has the virus.
“We’re pretty confident that he’s probably tested positive, but we haven’t gotten confirmation,” the source said. “We received the information yesterday from the prison, and we followed up and found out that he was in isolation. From what we understand, he did receive a test recently. We’re basing it off of solid information that he has contracted the virus.”
The prison official is unclear on whether Weinstein was displaying symptoms or got a test simply for precautionary reasons.
“The state failed to follow our instructions not to transport inmates from facility to facility,” the source adds.
As of Monday morning, Weinstein’s reps — spokesman Juda Engelmayer and attorney Arthur Aidala — were not able to confirm to Variety that their client has tested positive for coronavirus.
On Sunday, a report from the Niagara Gazette, a local newspaper based in Niagara Falls, N.Y., said Weinstein had tested positive for COVID-19.
When contacted by Variety at the time of the newspaper report, Weinstein’s spokesman said he did not have information regarding Weinstein testing positive for COVID-10. Variety also spoke to an attorney for Weinstein and his prison consultant, who both also said they could not confirm the report.
When asked on Sunday if Weinstein has tested positive for COVID-19, Weinstein’s prison consultant replied: “No one on the legal defense team has been told this. Period.” He added, “We cannot confirm that, nor care to comment on speculation.”
An additional source close to Weinstein told Variety he learned about the news by reading the report on Sunday evening, and had not learned of the information himself, so he could not confirm whether Weinstein has coronavirus. The source said he believes Weinstein has been in isolation since he arrived to prison, but not because of coronavirus concerns. “Just getting him oriented in where he was,” the source said, adding that Weinstein is situated in a medical wing.
According to the newspaper, Weinstein is one of two inmates at Wende Correctional Facility who have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Niagara Gazette report cited “officials connected to the state prison system,” as their sources who say Weinstein has tested positive for the virus, but spoke to the paper anonymously, since they were not authorized to speak on Weinstein’s condition. The sources told the newspaper it is believed Weinstein had already contracted the virus by the time he entered the state prison system last Wednesday when he was transferred from Rikers Island in New York City.
Prior to being transferred to Rikers, Weinstein was at Bellevue Hospital in New York City where he was being monitored for a heart condition and high blood pressure. Prior to his sentencing, Weinstein underwent an angioplasty at Bellevue. With the rapid spread of coronavirus, New York City is the epicenter of the pandemic and Manhattan hospitals, like Bellevue, have been experiencing a unsustainable surge in patients.
On Monday afternoon, Governor Andrew Cuomo said nearly 21,000 cases have been confirmed in the state of New York with 12,000 of those cases in New York City.
The Niagara Gazette spoke to Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, who would not comment on Weinstein, due to inmate privacy rules. Powers, however, did note that the union has asked state corrections officials to suspend all non essential inmate transfers from one state facility to another to avoid the spread of coronavirus, during the global pandemic. “There is no better breeding ground for this virus than a closed environment such as a correctional facility,” he told the newspaper.
As a precaution during the coronavirus crisis, DOCCS suspended all visitors to prison inmates last week.
Weinstein turned 68-years-old last week in prison, so given his age and poor health conditions, he is a high-risk individual with coronavirus. The disgraced movie mogul and convicted rapist is currently serving a 23-year term at the Wende Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison outside Buffalo, N.Y., after being found guilty on two charges of a criminal sex act and rape in the third degree.
China Reopens Cinemas as Coronavirus Threat Recedes.
More than 500 cinema screens have reopened in China, where the coronavirus outbreak is seen to be receding, though box office takings remain minimal as the public is mostly staying away.
State media CGTN reported that 486 theaters were open for business on Friday. On Monday, financial publication Caixin said the number had risen to 507, representing less than 5% of all cinemas in commercial operation prior to the virus outbreak.
Data from private-sector ticketing firm Maoyan showed that venues had opened in five provinces: far-flung Xinjiang; Shangdong, a coastal province that lies between Beijing and Shanghai; southern, landlocked province Sichuan; and two populous coastal regions, Fujian and Guangdong, which border Hong Kong.
The data showed that nationwide revenue on Friday totalled less than $2,000. In Fujian and Guangdong, not a single ticket was sold.
On Monday, China reported no new local cases of the virus, but confirmed 39 infections brought in from overseas, and nine more deaths, all in Wuhan, where the virus had its epicenter. Wuhan has not registered any new cases of Covid-19 for five consecutive days.
Most of the films currently available are re-runs of recent and popular Chinese movies, a move that is intended to minimize risk. According to Maoyan, 2019 Chinese crime thriller “Sheep Without A Shepherd” led the box office chart on Monday, ahead of new release iQIYI-backed animation “Spycies.”
China Film Group, the country’s leading state-owned distributor, and the official distributor of all the Hollywood movies imported on revenue sharing terms, last week unveiled a list of titles for which it would support releases on in which the exhibitors keep all income. These included “Green Book” and “A Dog’s Purpose.” There has been no further sign that their releases are imminent.
Warner Bros. used its Chinese social media site last week to tease a possible release of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” as a helpful bid to reinvigorate Chinese cinema-going. However, it remains without a date, and does not appear on ticketing company websites.
A small number of other titles are expected to release in the next two weeks, including “Into The Rainbow,” (aka “The Wonder: Chasing Rainbows”) a China-New Zealand co-production from 2017 which was originally scheduled to release in China in mid-January.
While the timing of a more significant mass reopening of cinemas is moot, and depends on the decisions of individual provincial governors, as well as the trend in coronavirus cases, some other parts of the Chinese economy are clearly getting back to work.
Taylor Swift and Kanye West’s 2016 Phone Call Leaks: Here’s the Full Transcript
Swift fans believe it vindicates her of charges she lied about not being told all the “Famous” lyrics. Either way, the 25-minute call diverges fascinatingly into West’s relationship with his wife, Drake rivalry, debt load and confidence of becoming “a multi, multi, multi-billionaire.”
The 2016 phone call between Taylor Swift and Kanye West that transfixed the world when Kim Kardashian published three minutes of it on Snapchat to paint Swift as a liar has now been leaked, in its 25-minute entirety. It’s not known who let the full video recording that was made by one of West’s associates out of the bag, but it paints a much more interesting picture of the conversation — and of both artists’ state of mind at the time — than the heavily edited snippets that Kardashian first presented to the world.
Variety transcribed the entire 25-minute conversation, included below, for fans of either or neither artist to judge.
A full account of the phone call establishes that, as they discussed West’s forthcoming song “Famous,” the hip-hop titan never did read Swift the “I made that bitch famous” line that she ultimately reacted against, putting their former feud back in motion. In fact, at one point, she expresses relief that he did not use the B-word in the song, so far as she knew. “I thought it was going to be like, ‘That stupid, dumb bitch’,” she tells West. “But it’s not.”
West does tell her that he is thinking of saying “I made her famous,” without including the “bitch” part of the line. At this point in the conversation, Swift’s tone subtly changes, as she says, “Well, what am I going to do about it?” He responds, with a chuckle, “Uh, like, do the hair flip?”
She reminds him that she had two multi-million-selling albums before he rushed onto the stage at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2009 to steal her thunder. “It’s just kind of like, whatever, at this point. But I mean, you’ve got to tell the story the way that it happened to you and the way that you’ve experienced it. Like, you honestly didn’t know who I was before that. Like, it doesn’t matter if I sold 7 million of that album [“Fearless”] before you did that, which is what happened. You didn’t know who I was before that. It’s fine.”
The transcript does corroborate that Swift indicated that she was okay with the line that goes “I feel like me and Taylor Swift might still have sex” and understood it as tongue-in-cheek. Much of the conversation, though, is dedicated to debating whether that was preferable to an alternative line, “I feel like Taylor Swift might still owe me sex.” West said that Kardashian preferred the “owe me sex” version rather than the “might still have sex” line.
“I feel like with my wife, that she probably didn’t like the ‘might still have sex’ because it would be like, what if she was on a TV show and said ‘Me and Tom Brady might still have sex’ or something?” West says. Swift responds, “You have to protect your relationship. Do what’s best. You just had a kid. You’re in the best place of your life. I wouldn’t ever advise you to f— with that.” She argues against the “owe me sex” line preferred by Kardashian because, in what might be an understatement, feminists will object.
The conversation wasn’t just a blip in the careers of either Swift or West. For Swift, the repercussions were monumental. Blowback was immediate after Kardashian leaked the excerpts, resulting in headlines like The Verge’s “Kim Kardashian Used Snapchat to Prove Taylor Swift Was Lying About Kanye West’s ‘Famous.’” Swift soon retreated from public view in wake of the backlash against her, finally returning with the largely dark “Reputation” album and tour, which used snake imagery to play off the serpentine emoticons Kardashian used in her tweets when she lashed out against Swift.
The call starts with West asking if Swift will actually “release” the song for him on Twitter — even though later he admits he still hasn’t finished it yet. Swift is taken aback by the idea, but West argues, “You’re got an army. You own a country of mother—ing 2 billion people, basically, that if you felt that it’s funny and cool and like hip-hop, and felt like just “The College Dropout” and the artist like Ye that you love, then I think that people would be like way into it. And that’s why I think it’s super-genius to have you be the one that says, “Oh, I like this song a lot.’” After she balks, he adds, “You don’t have to do the launching and tweet. That was just an extra idea I had.”
At one point, Swift says, “I need to think about it, because you know, when you hear something for the first time, you just need to think about it. Because it is absolutely crazy. I’m glad it’s not mean, though.” Later, West says, “I’m going to send you the song and send you the exact wording and everything about it, right? And then we could sit and talk through it.” At the close of the call, West promises, “I’m gonna go lay this verse, and I’m gonna send it to you right now.” Swift says, “Send it to me. I’m excited.”
Swift’s camp has always contended that West never followed up on his repeated vows to send her the entire song, with or without the “that bitch” line.
The conversation also includes a seven-minute monologue on West’s part in which he free-associates about being “a good like 20, 30 million” in personal debt, and how “it allowed the whole town to try to feel like they could control Kanye or even talk to me like I’m regular.” But, he added, “It’s like even in debt, he moves around like he’s like a billionaire. I’m like, yeah, I’m a cultural trillionaire!”
He contends, “I, Kanye West, the guy who created the genre of music that is the Weeknd, that is Drake … Every single person that makes music right now, (their) favorite album is ‘The College Dropout.’ Every single person that makes music. But,” he laments, “I went into debt to my wife by $6 million working on a f—ing house, less than like a few months ago, and I was able to pay her back before Christmas and s— like that. So, you know, when I talk about Nike, the idea that they wouldn’t give me a percentage, that I could make something that was so tangible, when Drake was just rapping me into the motherf—ing trashcan, that I could have something that was tangible that showed my creativity and expressed myself, that also could be a business that I could have a five-times multiple on and actually be able to sell it for like a hundred million, 200 million or a billion dollars, that was very serious.”
He also suggests that keeping up with the Kardashians, financially, was a major strain on him. “With my family. I felt like, look, if I’m just the angry black guy with some cool red shoes from Nike five years ago, I was going to be visiting my daughter, as opposed to be living with her. It would’ve been like, enough is enough. It wouldn’t have been cool anymore, because it would have been a group of people, including my wife, that all had at least like 500, 400 million in their account. And then you get the angry black man at the party talking about ‘I’m the one that put Kim in the dress! I’m the one that did this!’”
“I’m 100% going to be like a multi, multi, multi-billionaire. I think it’s fun that I can like be like Charlie Sheen and be like, ‘Hey, like, I got AIDS.’ …. I told Drake that the other night. I was like, ‘Yo, Drake, I’m in personal debt.’ And for me to tell Drake, the f—ing number one bachelor in the world that can f—ing rap anybody into a trashcan, that lives four blocks down the street from my wife and like basically f—s all of her friends, that I’m in personal debt, it’s such a like putting down the sword or … showing the hand, that I don’t have my poker face on with any of you guys.”
Even disinterested observers may spend months reading into the psychology of the full phone call. Is West gaslighting Swift by prefacing what plainly seem like derogatory lyrics by first suggesting that she should be excited to premiere the song herself… or just genuinely expecting her to share in his sense of mirth? Did Swift think the lines that West did reveal to her were in good fun and harmless… or was she caught unaware and just in people-pleaser mode (a theme of the “Miss Americana” documentary) when she signaled her tentative okay? Did West already have the “bitch” line in mind and disingenuously withhold it… or was it something he added later, legitimately not imagining it would add extra levels of offense, on top of a “made her famous” assertion Swift was clearly already not happy about? Is his glee after the call wraps up at having secretly filmed it satisfaction in having caught her in a “gotcha” moment… or does he imagine she might later share his exultation in bringing a historic summit to light?
That’s before fresh and inevitable questions of intermarital debt exchanges, and, given West’s repeated Apple fixation, whether “Steve Jobs-type music” is an actual genre.
Hardcore fans of either artist may not have their mind changed about which is the snake. And not many followers of either have yet heard or read the entire phone call, since it’s mostly been a series of excerpts going viral on social media. But for now, Swifties are claiming some vindication and enjoying making the #KanyeWestIsOverParty hashtag be one of the top trending global items on Twitter, the way #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty trended the day Kardashian released her snippets.
Who leaked the 25-minute video and why? That remains a mystery. Clearly the original source was within the West camp, but whether it was put out into the world to embarrass him or for other purposes remains unclear. Some sources have suggested it might have been let out by a disgruntled former employee, but the Mirror newspaper in the UK has run with a story with the (purely speculative) headline: “Kanye West’s Taylor Swift call ‘leaked by Kris Jenner’ as ‘coronavirus stole headlines.’” Whoever the source, getting a further deeper peek into the mystery is clearly intriguing millions of people looking for a distraction from more apocalyptic things, however un-sports-like it might seem to the principal parties.
As one tweeter said: “This whole ‘rewatch classic sporting events during quarantine’ thing just leveled up.”
The full transcript follows.
West: [To someone outside room.] Lock that door and then stand on the other side of it until I knock for you … No, lock the doors up.
West: [Resuming a conversation in progress with Swift, her end initially unintelligible.] …old school s—, yeah. I’m doing great. I feel so awesome about the music. The album’s coming out February 11, I’m doing the fashion show February 11 at Madison Square Garden, we’re dropping the album February 12th that morning. It’s like…
West: Oh, thank you so, so much. Yeah. It feels good. It feels like real Ye, Apple, Steve Jobs-type music. So my next single, I wanted you to tweet it. It’s a good Friday to drop it. It’s a good Friday song. So that’s why I’m calling you, that I wanted you to put the song out.
Swift: Oh, wow. Like, um, what would people… I guess it would just be, people would be like, “Whyyyy is this happening?” They would think I had something to do with it, probably.
West: Well, the reason why it will be happening is because it has a very controversial line at the beginning of the song about you.
Swift: [Apprehensively.] What does it say?
West: So it says… and the song is so, so dope. And I’ve literally sat with my wife, with my whole management team, with everything and tried to rework this line. I’ve thought about this line for eight months. I’ve had this line and I’ve tried to rework it every which way. And the original way that I thought about it is the best way, but it’s the most controversial way. So it’s gonna go Eminem a little bit, so can you brace yourself for a second?
Swift: [Sounding resigned.] Yeah.
West: Okay. All right. Wait a second, you sound sad.
Swift: Well, is it gonna be mean?
West: No, I don’t think it’s mean.
Swift: Okay, then, let me hear it.
West: Okay. It says, um,… and the funny thing is, when I first played it and my wife heard it, she was like, “Huh? What? That’s too crazy,” blah, blah, blah. And then like when Ninja from Die Atwoord heard it, he was like, “Oh my God, this is the craziest s—. This is why I love Kanye,” blah, blah, blah, that kind of thing. And now it’s like my wife’s favorite f—ing line. I just wanted to give you some premise of that. Right?
West: So it says “To all my Southside [N-word] that know me best, I feel like Taylor Swift might owe me sex.”
Swift: [Laughs, relieved.] That’s not mean.
West: Okay. Well, this is the thing where I’m calling you, because you’re got an army. You own a country of mother—ing 2 billion people, basically, that if you felt that it’s funny and cool and like hip-hop, and felt like just “The College Dropout” and the artist like Ye that you love, then I think that people would be like way into it. And that’s why I think it’s super-genius to have you be the one that says, “Oh, I like this song a lot. Like, yeah, whatever, this is cool, whatever.” It’s like, I got like s— on my album where I’m like, “I bet me and Ray J would be friends, if we ain’t love the same bitch.”
Swift: Oh my God! I mean, I need to think about it, because you know, when you hear something for the first time, you just need to think about it. Because it is absolutely crazy. I’m glad it’s not mean, though. It doesn’t feel mean. But oh my God, the buildup you gave it, I thought it was going to be like, “That stupid, dumb bitch.” But it’s not. So I don’t know. I mean, the launch thing, I think it would be kind of confusing to people. But I definitely like… I definitely think that when I’m asked about it, of course I’ll be like, “Yeah, I love that. I think it’s hilarious.” But, um, I need to think about it.
West: You don’t have to do the launching and tweet. That was just an extra idea I had. But if you think that that’s cool, then it’s cool. If not… I mean, we are launching the s— like on just good Fridays on SoundCloud, on the site, s— like that.
Swift: You know, the thing about me is, anything that I do becomes like a feminist think-piece. And if I launch it, they’re going to be like, wow, like, they’ll just turn into something that… I think if I launch it, honestly, I think it’ll be less cool. Because I think if I launch it, it adds this level of criticism. Because having that many followers and having that many eyeballs on me right now, people are just looking for me to do something dumb or stupid or lame. And I don’t know. I kind of feel like people would try to make it negative if it came from me, do you know what I mean? I think I’m very self-aware about where I am, and I feel like right now I’m like this close to overexposure.
West: Oh. Well, this one, I think this is a really cool thing to have.
Swift: I know, I mean, it’s like a compliment, kind of. [Chuckles.]
West: I have this line where I said… And my wife really didn’t like this one, because we tried to make it nicer. So I say “For all my Southside [N-word] that know me best, I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.” And my wife was really not with that one. She was way more into the “She owes you sex.” But then the “owe” part was like the feminist group-type shit that I was like, ahhhhh.
Swift: That’s the part that I was kind of… I mean, they ‘re both really edgy, but that’s the only thing about that line is that it’s like, then the feminists are going to come out. But I mean, you don’t give a f—. So…
West: Yeah, basically. Well, what I give a f— about is just you as a person, as a friend….
Swift: That’s sweet.
West: I want things that make you feel good. I don’t want to do rap that makes people feel bad. Like of course, like I’m mad at Nike, so people think, “Oh, he’s a bully. He ran on stage with Taylor. He’s bullying Nike now,” this $50 billion company.
Swift: Why are people saying you’re bullying Nike?
West: Because on “Facts,” like, I say, “Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy, they line up for days / Nike out here bad, they can’t give s— away.”
Swift: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I mean, that’s just what you do, though. I mean, I wouldn’t say that it’s possible to bully a company like Nike. But I mean… um, yeah, I mean, go with whatever line you think is better. It’s obviously very tongue-in-cheek either way. And I really appreciate you telling me about it. That’s really nice.
West: Oh, yeah. I just had a responsibility to you as a friend. I mean, thanks for being like so cool about it.
Swift: Thanks. Yeah, I really appreciate it. The heads-up is so nice. You’d be surprised how many people just do things without even asking or seeing if I’d be okay with it, and I just really appreciate it. I never would have expected you to tell me about a line in one of your songs. That’s really nice that you did.
West: You mean like unexpected s— like you taking the time to give someone a really, really valuable award and then they completely run for president right afterwards? Like unexpected in that kind of way? [Laughs.] [A few months earlier, at the 2015 MTV Awards, Swift presented West with his lifetime achievement award, followed by a rambling speech in which he acknowledged he had smoked pot beforehand and was going to run for president.]
Swift: [Laughs.] We have not talked about what happened.
West: I just thought that was wavy. It was vibey. The funny thing is, I thought about the weed and the president, both of those things I thought about in the shower the day before and just started laughing like crazy. I was like, I gotta say that I had just smoked some weed and then say I’m gonna run for president… So those are my bases of… I knew I wanted to say the thing about going to like the Dodgers game with my daughter and like getting booed and that being scary, and I knew I wanted to say like me changing and thinking about people more since I had a daughter. And then I wanted to say the weed thing. And then I wanted to say the president thing. And everything else was just like off the cuff.
Swift: Oh my God. It was definitely like it stole the show… And then the flowers that you sent me. I Instagrammed a picture of them and it’s the most Instagram likes I’ve ever gotten. It was like 2.7 million likes on that picture of the flowers you sent me. Crazy.
West: It’s some connection or something that I think is really important about that moment when we met on stage. There’s something that I think is really important about that, and where humanity is going, or now where me and Kim are, and having a family and just everything, the way things are landing. So it’s always… Relationships are more important than punchlines, you know.
Swift: Yeah, I mean, I don’t think anybody would listen to that and be like, “Oh, that’s a real diss” — like, “She must be crying about that line.” And I think because of how crazy and strange and fateful the way we met was, I think we have to pick our moments to do stuff together and make sure it’s only really cool stuff.
West: Yeah, exactly. We can’t have it like be somebody else’s idea that gets in front and they’re like… Because if you’re like a really true, creative, visceral, vibey type person, it’s probably hard for you to work at a corporation. So how can you give a creative creative ideas and you’re working in a house of non-creativity? It’s like this weird… So whenever we talk directly… Okay, now what if later in the song I was also to have said, uh… “I made her famous”? Is that a…
Swift: Yeah. I mean… Um… It’s just kind of like, whatever, at this point. But I mean, you’ve got to tell the story the way that it happened to you and the way that you’ve experienced it. Like, you honestly didn’t know who I was before that. Like, it doesn’t matter if I sold 7 million of that album [“Fearless”] before you did that, which is what happened. You didn’t know who I was before that. It’s fine. But, um, yeah. I can’t wait to hear it.
West: I mean, it’s fun. It’s definitely… You’re ready to trend. That’s all I can say.
Swift: Uh, what’s the song called?
West: Uh, it might be called “Hood Famous.”
Swift: Oh, cool. Is it going to be like a single-single, or is it going to be a SoundCloud release? What are you doing?
West: Oh, this one right here is like f—ing Song of the Year-type territory.
Swift: Oh my God. Amazing. That’s crazy. Oh my God. Speaking of Song of the Year, are you going to the Grammys?
West: Uh, you know what? I was thinking to not do it. But I think that this song… You know what? I’m going to send you the song and send you the exact wording and everything about it, right? And then we could sit and talk through it. But if the song goes and f—ing just…
[The video goes out momentarily, as the filmer’s phone battery apparently dies. When it resumes, they are still discussing whether West might attend the Grammys.]
Swift: … they just look at us and go… [Unintelligible] …Even if we’ve made an incredible achievement, it’s harder for people to write down our names for some reason. That’s just human nature. It’s envy. It’s asking people in our industry to vote for the people who are already killing it.
West: Yeah. It’s like so many people wanted Meek Mills (sic) to win because Drake was just killing it for so long, and they were just like, “We just need, like, Meek Mills (sic) to, like…” But I think, you know, okay… So that has my mind going through a lot of places to problem-solve. I was talking to Ben Horowitz — do you know this guy? He’s a VC. Ben Horowitz out of San Fran. But he’s down with that.
Swift: I know that name. I don’t know him.
West: It’s just like the San Fran clique, you know, that type of thing, like he stays down the street from Mark Zuckerberg and s— like that. So I was talking to him and I was like, “Bro”… Like me, I’m in personal debt. I’m in debt by a good like 20, 30 million, ever since the fashion, and still have not made it out of it. So that’s part of the reason why I had to go to Roc Nation and the touring deals evolved, and it allowed the whole town to try to feel like they could control Kanye or even talk to me like I’m regular or have agents do it, but they saw they couldn’t. It’s like even in debt, he moves around like he’s like a billionaire. I’m like, yeah, I’m a cultural trillionaire! I might have financial debts. So I told Ben Horowitz, I was like, “You guys, you, Mark Zuckerberg or whoever, Tim Cook, you guys have to clean that up.” So I’m sending Ben Horowitz my current balance. That means that l’m not up 50, not up 100 million, not up 200 million, not up 300 million. No —negative 20 million, currently. I, Kanye West, the guy who created the genre of music that is the Weeknd, that is Drake — the guy who created… Every single person that makes music right now, favorite album is “The College Dropout.” Every single person that makes music. But I’m rich enough… Like, I went into debt to my wife by 6 million working on a f—ing house, less than like a few months ago, and I was able to pay her back before Christmas and s— like that. So, you know, when I talk about Nike, the idea that they wouldn’t give me a percentage, that I could make something that was so tangible, when Drake was just rapping me into the motherf—ing trashcan, that I could have something that was tangible that showed my creativity and expressed myself, that also could be a business that I could have a five-times multiple on and actually be able to sell it for like a hundred million, 200 million or a billion dollars, that was very serious. Every conversation, every time I’d scream at Charlemagne (Tha God) or scream at (radio host) Sway, that was really, really, really serious. And it also was with my family. I felt like, look, if I’m just the angry black guy with some cool red shoes from Nike five years ago, I was going to be visiting my daughter, as opposed to be living with her. It would’ve been like, enough is enough. It wouldn’t have been cool anymore, because it would have been a group of people, including my wife, that all had at least like 500, 400 million in their account. And then you get the angry black man at the party talking about “I’m the one that put Kim in the dress! I’m the one that did this!” But it never realized itself. So that’s one of the things I just talked to Ben… And I talk about it on the album. Talk about personal debt and s—. Just the idea like, “Oh s—, this dude with this f—ing Maybach that makes f—ing $50 million a tour still hasn’t lined it up or came out of the point when AEG and Live Nation wouldn’t give him a deal.” The debt started after “Watch the Throne” [West’s joint album with Jay-Z], because I got no deal. But I still was doing my creative projects on my own, shooting a film, doing a fashion show, just trying to be very Disney, be very visceral, be creative. And…
Swift: I mean, I’m sure you’ve thought about this up and down, but I mean, is there a way to monetize these in a way that you thought would still feel authentic but make them into a multibillion dollar company?
West: Well, that’s what we’re going to do. That’s what we’re in the plans of. I’m 100% going to be like a multi, multi, multi-billionaire. I think it’s fun that I can like be like Charlie Sheen and be like, “Hey, like, I got AIDS.” You know, like…. To me, I told Drake that the other night. I was like, “Yo, Drake, I’m in personal debt.” And for me to tell Drake, the f—ing number one bachelor in the world that can f—ing rap anybody into a trashcan, that lives four blocks down the street from my wife and like basically f—s all of her friends, that I’m in personal debt, it’s such a like putting down the sword or putting down the hand or opening, showing the hand. That I don’t have my poker face on with any of you guys. I’m just me. I’m just a creative. You know, everything I did, even when it was mistimed, whatever it might’ve been from a… It’s always like from a good place, and I know that I’ll overcome it and I know that the world will overcome it. Because, like, I’m going to change the world. I’m going to make it… I’m gonna make people’s lives better on some post-Steve Jobs, Howard Hughes-type shit. Like, I’m going to do things with education. I’m going to do things that help to calm down murders in Chicago or across the globe. Things that help to calm down police brutality, to equalize the wealth amidst the class system. Because there’s a bunch of classes of wealthy people that hate Obama because he’s more social and he wants the people who don’t have anything to have everything. And in my little way, by learning how to design, design is something that’s only given to the rich currently. The exact color palette that Hermes uses versus the color palette that Forever 21 uses — a color palette is extremely important. Color is important. You know, the knowledge of proportions… you know, the size of our house versus the size of someone else’s houses, and just the dynamics of that proportion. Like, I don’t want this conversation to go too, too long, but I wanted to give you a bit of where I’m at and the perspective that I’m at and the way… the fact that I am the microprocessor of our culture. Meaning like, I can figure out how to give Rihanna a Mary J. Blige-type album. I can figure out how to get the fashion world to accept my wife, and thus the whole family. I can figure out a lot of impossible… I can figure out how to make something that you’re wearing to the airport, five years after the entire globe was like, “Hang that [N-word] alive and f— him, and let’s watch him die, slowly, publicly.” So, it’s a lot. I figured that out for myself, so it’s a lot of s— that we collectively, with the power that you have and your fans, the power my wife has, the power that I have, that we can do to really make it where it’s not just the rich getting richer, but… You know, make it not just a f—ing charity, not singing for Africa, but change things in a way that people can experience s— themselves, a piece of the good life. You know?
Swift: Yeah. I mean, they’re amazing ideas and amazing concepts, and I definitely would love to talk to you more about it. I know you have to do something right now, but I love that that’s where you’re headed. And it’s been like that. I mean, when we went to dinner, there were the rumblings of those ideas. I like that you’re always thinking outward. And over the last six, seven, eight years, however long it’s been since that happened, I haven’t always liked you, but I’ve always respected you. And I think that’s what you’re saying when you say like, you know, “I might be in debt, but I can make these things happen, and I have the ideas to do it, and I can create these things or these concepts.” Like, I’m always going to respect you. And I’m really glad that you had the respect to call me and tell me that as a friend about the song, and it’s a really cool thing to do, and a really good show of friendship. So thank you.
West: Oh, thank you too.
Swift: And you know, if people ask me about it, look, I think it would be great for me to be like, “Look, he called me and told me the line before it came out. Like, the joke’s on you guys – we’re fine.”
West: Yeah. Yeah. Okay. I think that’s pretty much the switch right there.
Swift: Yeah. Like, you guys want to call this a feud, you want to call this throwing shade, but you know, right after the song comes out, I’m gonna be on a Grammy red carpet, and they’re gonna ask me about it and I’ll be like, “He called me and sent me the song before it came out.” So I think we’re good.
West: Okay. I’m gonna go lay this verse, and I’m gonna send it to you right now.
Swift: [Taken aback.] Oh, you just… you haven’t recorded it yet?
West: I recorded it. I’m nuancing the lines — like the last version of it says, “Me and Taylor might still have sex.” And then my wife was like, ”That doesn’t sound as hard!”
Swift: Well, I mean, she’s saying that honestly because she’s your wife, and like, um… So I think whatever one you think is actually better. I mean, obviously do what’s best for your relationship, too. I think “owes me sex,” it says different things. It says… “Owes me sex” means like “Look, I made her what she is. She actually owes me.” Which is going to split people, because people who like me are going to be like, “She doesn’t owe him s—.” But then people who like thought it was bad-ass and crazy and awesome that you’re so outspoken are going to be like, “Yeah, she does. It made her famous.” So it’s more provocative to say “still have sex,” because no one would see that coming. They’re both crazy. Do what you want. They’re both going to get every single headline in the world. “Owes me sex” is a little bit more like throwing shade, and the other one’s more flirtatious. It just depends on what you want to accomplish with it.
West: Yeah, I feel like with my wife, that she probably didn’t like the “might still have sex” because it would be like, what if she was on a TV show and said “Me and Tom Brady might still have sex” or something?
Swift: You have to protect your relationship. Do what’s best. You just had a kid. You’re in the best place of your life. I wouldn’t ever advise you to f— with that. Just pick whatever… It’s cause and effect. One is gonna make people feel a certain way, and it’s gonna be a slightly different emotion for the other. But it’s not… It doesn’t matter to me. There’s not one that hurts my feelings and the other doesn’t.
West: Yeah. It’s just, when I’m pointing this gun, what I tried to do differently than two years ago, is like when I shoot a gun, I try to point it away from my face. So one is a little bit more flirtatious and easier… I think, so really, that means the conversation is really: One is like a little bit better for the public and a little bit less good for the relationship. One is a little bit worse for the public and better for the relationship.
Swift: Yeah. I can hear it. But it’s your goals, really. I mean, you always just go with your gut — obviously. But, um, amazing. Send it to me. I’m excited.
West: All right, cool. Thanks so much.
Swift: Awesome. I’ll talk to you later.
West: All right, cool. Peace. Bye.
West: [To cameraman.] We had to get that on the record.
Cameraman: [About interruption.] I’m sorry. The battery on this thing died.
West: It’s just when it dies… You get some s— like Kanye talking to Taylor Swift explaining that line? There’s gotta be three cameras on that one. We can’t miss one element.
Apple Music strikes new deals with Universal and Sony.
This is according to a Financial Times report. However, the contracts restrict the tech giant from bundling Apple TV and Apple Music.
The big three labels boast top musicians and a significant share in the global music market, including Ed Sheeran, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Taylor Swift, as well as African stars like Tiwa Savage, Cassper Nyovest, Burna Boy and AKA, among many others.
The new contracts will be set for multiple years. None of the organisations have publicly commented on the deal yet, but more details on the agreements are expected to be revealed soon.
Meanwhile, Spotify is said to be locking new deals with Sony Music and indie agency Merlin as its current contracts with Universal Music and Warner Group have expired.
According to Digital Music News, Spotify will attempt to prevent the Big Three from receiving a portion of its earnings from advertising and artist-promotion tools. This was the case historically and has led to the world’s largest music streaming platform struggle to achieve profitability.
Spotify has no device sales like Apple Music, which can bolster revenue with the sale of iPhones and various other devices. This has shifted Spotify’s focus towards services that promote artists, albums and merch.
Apple Music’s new deal could offer musicians signed to the big three more value, according to a report that suggest the company pays more per stream compared to its competitors.