Kanye West’s recent interviews on the Drink Champs podcast were full of headline-worthy moments. Just Blaze, John Legend, Big Sean, Common, and many others caught strays from the 44-year old who held nothing back.
But one thing that made less headlines (but was far more interesting) was Ye’s desire to become a publicly-traded entity:
“I’ma go public… I have the biggest brand on the planet with Yeezy, with DONDA… The richest man on the planet is [LVMH CEO] Bernard Arnault. His last two employees used to work for me, so we have the biggest brand.”
The infamous org chart. Since Donda’s album rollout began earlier this year, I’ve revisited Kanye’s Donda org chart. The ambitious and scattered diagram is Ye’s takeover plan. Kanye has often said that “artists are founders.” He wants to make that a reality more than ever.
Artists are some of the most influential people in the world but they have the least mechanisms to capitalize on that influence. Ye’s influence is high relative to other superstar artists too. His listening sessions made more money than most tours do. His biggest event broke Apple Music livestream records. And in recent years, Gap and Adidas stocks have risen thanks to the Yeezy partnership. Kanye wants to capture more of the value he generates, and it’s hard to blame him.
He may be a billionaire, but he’s made his business partners—Universal Music Group, Adidas, Gap— a lot more.
$YE or (YE: Nasdaq)? In the Drink Champs interview, Ye talked a lot about SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies). These holding companies make it easier for companies to have a direct listing on a stock exchange and go public.
The easier, and most logical route, is for $YE to drop a token. It would get fans exclusive access to any unique experience, merch, Gap hoodies, stem players, tuition discounts at Donda Academy, and more. A $YE coin is a safe bet that would go crazy.
But this is Kanye. He’s doesn’t do safe bets. He believes that his peers are Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. These people have publicly-traded companies on Nasdaq, take big bets despite public criticism, and explore space in their spare time. That’s where he sees himself.
It’s a more complicated path, but not impossible. And since artist monetization has become more popular than ever, more tools may emerge for Ye and others to bring their bold visions to life. This is just the beginning.
Listen to Ye’s interview on Drink Champs here.