Kanye West's Latest Album Vanishes from iTunes, Apple Music

Kanye West faces new hurdles with his latest album.

by Nouman Rasool
Kanye West's Latest Album Vanishes from iTunes, Apple Music
© Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

In an unexpected twist, the music industry was thrown off its balance as Kanye West's most recent effort, "Vultures 1," a collaborative work with Ty Dolla $ign, disappeared from key streaming platforms iTunes and Apple Music.

The album was released on vinyl in select stores just the Saturday before, and it was gone by Thursday afternoon, sparking an upset from fans on social media. Music distribution company FUGA confirmed it took the record down by saying it was "in the process" of removing "Vultures 1" from digital shelves to Billboard.

It was only after one of the clients did an unauthorized release and was able to distribute the album through FUGA's automated systems, therefore infringing on the service agreement, that the decision to pull off the artwork was made.

Importantly, the move follows FUGA's decision earlier this year to not release "Vultures 1" as stated by a spokesperson to Billboard. According to Billboard, companies like FUGA typically reserve the right to remove content from their systems—an action seldom taken but strongly within their contractual rights.

The album had quite the impact just a couple of hours into its release, from topping streaming and sales charts to adding to the drama around its withdrawal.

Vultures 1: Distribution Challenges

But the controversies didn't stop there.

Kanye West's journey with "Vultures 1" has been under fire, including apparent difficulties in finding willing distributors. A number of firms turned down efforts in the album due to concerns over West's history of making antisemitic comments, according to the sources of Billboard. Similarly, Vultures 1 has been bogged down with legal issues.

Song sampling accusations have caused later removal from some of the other platforms. Noticeably, the track "Good (Don't Die)" was pulled off of Spotify on account of accusations of copyright theft by the Donna Summer estate.

This was after West was accused of the unauthorized use of her 1977 hit "I Feel Love". On a related case, Ozzy Osbourne took legal action on the unauthorized use of sampling his 1983 "Iron Man" performance in West's track "Carnival".

The future for "Vultures 1" is certainly precarious: now, unchained from the usual central platforms, with legal and distribution battles ahead, it's a case of showing how West will navigate this industry labyrinth of rules and rights.

Forbes has reached out to FUGA for more insight and in the meantime West has taken to Instagram to air his views on streaming platforms being set up with a mechanism to limit his music. As the situation unfolds, the industry and fans alike await the next chapter in the saga of "Vultures 1".

Kanye West