In the past few years, a growing number of artists have begun selling their catalogs and master recordings for massive sums. The list of acts who’ve joined this trend includes Future, Iggy Azalea, John Legend, Metro Boomin, and more. There are a lot of reasons that artists have been doing this but there’s one artist who has a pretty good reason for not selling his: Jay-Z.
In his CBS Mornings interview with Gayle King, Jay explained why he won’t be selling his master recordings anytime soon. At the 7:11 mark in the video below, Jay says, “I get why people do it. I’ve been fortunate to make money in this place. But for me, it was the fight of my life. From being an independent company from the beginning, and then going through the Def Jam system, not really understanding how that works and them having my masters, then going back to Def Jam as the President, and then saying, ‘Okay, I’ll do this job, and part of this job is: my masters have to revert back to me.’”
He does offer one condition under which a lucky investor could buy one of the most lucrative catalogs in music: His kids would have to want to sell it.
Jay-Z was named President of Def Jam Recordings in 2004, selling his remaining interest in Roc-A-Fella Records along with the label’s co-founders Dame Dash and Kareem Burke in exchange for taking control of both companies. Jay remained President of Def Jam until 2007, resigning on January 1, 2008. He started Roc Nation in 2009; since then, his business empire has grown expeditiously, expanding into a number of ventures that have made him hip-hop’s first official billionaire.