Just in case you missed it, Kanye West sent the social-media sphere into a meltdown last weekend when he inadvertently announced on Twitter that he was $53 million in personal debt. He then went on and noted this was the result of following his dreams in the fashion industry.
I write this to you my brothers while still 53 million dollars in personal debt… Please pray we overcome… This is my true heart…
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 14, 2016
Despite an ever-increasing appreciation of his projects and designs, West has learned some harsh truths of the fashion industry. It all started back in 2009, when he set aside his music career to focus his attention on his fashion label, Pastelle. However, it was reported in 2009 without much explanation that Kanye’s ‘Pastelle’ vision was cancelled and would never see the light of the day.
To follow up, Ye had a rather rough time when he tried to push his high-end womenswear line called Kanye West in 2011. This was the second venture in which his line never actually made it to stores.
The next enterprise for the rapper-turn-fashion-mogul came along in 2013 was the production of G.O.O.D. merchandise, marketed to fans of his record label, G.O.O.D. Music.
And surely you can’t forget that collaboration with Nike and the hugely successful Nike Air Yeezy. But despite the success these kicks had, it didn’t stop the rot for Mr Yeezus. West has previously noted how he was not given a percentage of the sales during his time with Nike, thus opening the doors to a more lucrative deal at Adidas. It has been an instant success for both Kanye and Adidas, recently taking the world by storm with the release of their Adidas YEEZY BOOST.
Following on from some of these recent successes, Kanye has been able to venture back into his love affair with clothing and produce his latest fashion label, Yeezy. So far, it appeared to be Kanye’s most successful fashion project, or at least it seemed that way? The reality was, his first season put West $16 million in debt just getting his line off the ground. The expenses related to production, sales, buying, marketing and managing a fashion line are one thing, but on the scale Kanye has been pushing the product and setting up these epic scale shows is when it really starts adding up financially. He is now on Season 3, so based on $16 million for season 1, that works out at $48 million for all Yeezy Seasons.
Randy Brooke/Getty Images for Kanye West Yeezy
So going back to this supposed $53 million debt, let’s consider Kanye’s current situation. In reality, this man has some serious earning power and quite frankly this isn’t an unmanageable amount of debt for the rapper and entrepreneur.
His Yeezus tour in 2013 was the second-highest grossing of that year, bringing in a cool $25 million. He also brought in $22 million last year and $30 million in 2014, according to Forbes. His recent marriage to Kim and her fame hungry family can only increase his earning capability with Kim worth an estimated $40 million to her name.
One questionable move by Kanye is the fact he made his new album The Life of Pablo available exclusively on Tidal, a music streaming service owned by Kanye’s homeboy Jay Z, and not on iTunes. Considering his recent announcement regarding the state of his bank balance, this raised a lot of eyebrows regarding the earning potential of this stunt. Due to the unorthodox availability of the new album, TorrentFreak estimated 500,000 people have already pirated The Life of Pablo and that number will only increase.
Following Yeezy’s public announcement of his personal debt, Kanye has asked Facebook Inc’s Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg to invest $1 billion into his “ideas.”
Mark Zuckerberg invest 1 billion dollars into Kanye West ideas
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 14, 2016
Mark Zuckerberg I know it’s your bday but can you please call me by 2mrw…
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 15, 2016
What these ideas are is anyone’s guess but it would seem highly unlikely Zuckerberg is prepared to fork out $1 billion to find out. Kanye has sent a few follow up tweets to the Facebook founder but nothing has been said in response, surprisingly.
The whole Kanye Twitter confessions and general drama about his $53m debt, the Zuckerberg saga and so on seems to be generating a lot of attention during a busy period for Yeezy. Releasing a new album The Life of Pablo this month, unveiling Yeezy Season 3 and many other releases and projects in the pipeline with Adidas; the extensive coverage Kanye has gained within the media from his recent drama and escapades might well be a very effective and sly marketing tactic?
In more recent Kanye/Twitter activity, less than two weeks after releasing The Life of Pablo, Kanye West is already planning his next move. The rapper took to Twitter and announced a new album coming this summer.
New album coming this summer
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 24, 2016
Listen to tracks from The Life of Pablo album here.