Jay-Z Breaks Down Why He Would Never Sell His Masters

Jay-Z says selling his Master Recordings is not an option even and explains what it would take for him to record new music


Jay-Z says selling his Master Recordings is not an option for him as other artists are busy selling all or a portion of their Masters for astronomical sums.

Over the past year, several big-name artists sold their Masters to investment companies for eight and nine figures. Among them, Justin Bieber reportedly sold his publishing for over $200 million, while rappers like Future sold a portion of his catalog, which includes 612 songs for an eight-figure payday. The total amount was not disclosed, but estimations are that it’s in the $70 million mark.

In his interview with Gayle King, Jay-Z says he has no plans to sell any parts of his Masters because they mean so much to him and he wants to pass them down to his children. However, whether or not his children want to sell them when they inherit them is up to them.

Hov also admitted that he gets why artists have been doing it of late, but perhaps where he is at now, he doesn’t necessarily need the money he would reap from selling his publishing.

“I get why people do it. I’ve been fortunate enough to make money in this place, but for me, [that] was the fight of my life,” the New York rap icon said. “From being an independent company from the beginning and the 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 ‘ok I’ll do this job and part of this job is my masters have to revert back to me.”

Jay-Z on if he will release new music

Elsewhere in his Gayle King interview, Jay-Z shared that releasing new music now is not top priority for him, but retirement is also not an option. As a result, he would only release new music if it’s meaningful.

He was adamant that any new music from him would have to be about substance and impactful to ordinary people’s lives, or else his music studio would continue to gather dust for the foreseeable future.

“I already [used the word ‘retirement’], I can’t do that ever again. I’ll say I wanna make music, but it has to be something important,” Jay-Z said.

“I don’t wanna just make a bunch of tunes,” Hov continues. “That’s not gonna serve me. It won’t feed me, first of all. I have to be saying something important. It has to mean something, you know? It has to mean something to a larger society. 4:44, for example, was a personal story, but the amount of vulnerability in there allowed for a lot of people to explore the space.”

In a previous interview with Kevin Hart on his Hart To Heart podcast, Jay-Z explains why he could never retire from music. Hov says his last retirement was just him needing a break from the limelight after recording several albums back-to-back and going on extensive tours. He was just exhausted and needed time to recuperate.

However, before long, he quickly realized that music was still calling him even after achieving monumental success in business.