Who owns the rights to Tupac’s music? This is a question that has been asked by many fans of the late rapper. The answer is not as simple as you might think.
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On September 7th, 1991, Tupac Shakur released his debut album 2Pacalypse Now. The album was a sonic and lyrical departure from the glossy, feel-good music of the early 90’s. It was a call to arms for a generation of young black men who felt like they had no voice. It was unapologetically political, and it changed the course of popular music.
But who owns the rights to Tupac’s music? And how did those rights end up in the hands of the label that released 2Pacalypse Now, Interscope Records?
The answer is complicated, and it has its roots in a legal battle that began long before Tupac’s death in 1996.
History of Tupac and His Music
Tupac Shakur was an American rapper and songwriter who sold over 75 million records worldwide. He is one of the best-selling music artists of all time. Shakur began his career as a roadie and backup dancer for the alternative hip hop group Digital Underground. His debut album 2Pacalypse Now was released in 1991 and was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). His second album, Strictly 4 My N.I.G.G.A.Z…, was released in 1993 and reached platinum status by the RIAA.
In September 1996, Tupac was shot four times by an unknown assailant in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas, Nevada. He died six days later from his injuries at the age of 25. Since his death, many of his songs have been posthumously released, with sales certification indicating that he has sold over 75 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling music artists of all time.
The majority of Tupac’s catalogue is owned by Entertainment One Music, who had acquired it as part of their purchase of Death Row Records in 2013. In July 2015, it was announced that the Tupac estate had struck a deal with Spotify whereby his solo material would be added to the service “in perpetuity”. The deal covered both his solo material and recordings made as part of Tha Dogg Pound and Digital Underground.
The Controversy Surrounding the Rights to Tupac’s Music
The late rapper Tupac Shakur was one of the most influential and controversial Hip Hop artists of his time. His music was highly political, and he was unafraid to speak out against racism, violence, and other social issues. He was also a highly successful artist, selling millions of albums and achieving widespread critical acclaim. Since his untimely death in 1996, Tupac’s music has been coveted by fans and record labels alike. However, the rights to his music have been the subject of much controversy.
Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation shortly after her son’s death. The foundation is responsible for managing Tupac’s estate and distributing his music. However, Afeni has been embroiled in legal disputes with various record labels over the rights to Tupac’s music. In 2005, she reached a settlement with Death Row Records that gave her full control over Tupac’s unreleased recordings. However, she has since been involved in lawsuits with Universal Music Group and Entertainment One over the rights to Tupac’s masters.
The controversy surrounding the rights to Tupac’s music has prevented many of his unreleased tracks from being released to the public. However, there have been some recent developments that suggest that new Tupac music may soon be on its way. In 2019, it was announced that Afeni had entered into a joint venture with Entertainment One that would give the label half of the profits from any future releases of Tupac’s music. This joint venture could finally give fans the chance to hear some of the late rapper’s unreleased tracks.
Who Currently Owns the Rights to Tupac’s Music?
Afeni Shakur, Tupac’s mother, is the current owner of the late rapper’s music. She is the founder of Amaru Entertainment, which manages Tupac’s estate.
When Shakespeare died 400 years ago, his estate went to his wife. The same principle applies to musicians – their heirs inherit their work. In most cases, that means the artist’s children or close relatives own the music.
In Tupac’s case, his mother Afeni Shakur inherited his work when he died. Afeni is the founder of Amaru Entertainment, which manages Tupac’s estate and oversees all aspects of his legacy, including his music catalog.
The Impact of Tupac’s Music on the Music Industry
Tupac’s music has had a lasting impact on the music industry and the world at large. His songs are still played on the radio, and his image is still recognizable to many people. However, there is some debate over who owns the rights to Tupac’s music.
Tupac’s estate claims that they own the rights to his music, but there are also a number of other parties who claim to have some ownership over his songs. The estate has been involved in a number of lawsuits over the years, and it is unclear who will ultimately prevail in these legal disputes.
In the meantime, Tupac’s music continues to be enjoyed by millions of people around the world. His legacy will likely continue to have a significant impact on the music industry for many years to come.
The Future of Tupac’s Music
Tupac’s mother, Afeni Shakur, owns the majority of the rights to her son’s music. However, a large portion of Tupac’s catalogue is owned by Entertainment One. The Canadian entertainment company acquired a majority stake in Death Row Records in 2013. This gives them the rights to most of Tupac’s posthumous albums, including “The Don Killuminati: The 7 Day Theory” and “Until the End of Time.”
It is unclear who currently owns the rights to Tupac’s music. His mother, Afeni Shakur, founded the Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and the Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts, and she has controlled his musical legacy through these organizations. However, it is possible that other parties have a claim to the rights to Tupac’s music.