Titled “most hated man in America” by the BBC after raising the price of HIV drug: Daraprim, by 5,556 percent, Martin Shkreli reappeared on the news for attempting to buy the copyright to Kanye West’s new album, The Life of Pablo. He allegedly wished to keep the album to himself, contacting Kanye via Twitter to offer a starting sum of $10 million, which he soon raised to $15 million.
Although Kanye refused his offer, Shkreli aimed to delay the release of the album, as Kanye’s label requires such offers to at least reach the Board of Directors. Unwilling to postpone the release, Kanye ignored Shkreli’s request and instead released the contents of his album on the music streaming site TIDAL, to the delight of his fans.
“It was interesting how Kanye compared himself to Pablo Picasso [in The Life of Pablo], with his woman being Kim Kardashian,” said James Cho (11), aspiring artist. “[Kanye’s] songs always have a deep bass and profound lyrics that talk about the past, making most of his songs a pleasure to listen to. The songs in his album inspired me to make my own and possibly even release my mixtape on SoundCloud.”
Shkreli previously purchased the sole ownership of Wu-Tang Clan’s Once Upon a Time in Shaolin for two million dollars, and his most recent offer to Kanye West was an attempt at continuing his personal music collection. In Shkreli’s Tweets and letter to West, he claimed himself “a tremendous fan” and that Kanye would “find this agreement more attractive than [West’s] current course of action.”
While Kanye rejected the offer, the artist did not see much success after the release of his album. The Life of Pablo, which included collaborations with artists such as Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, and The Weeknd, failed to rank on the top Billboard charts of both the US and the UK.
“Music serves as a connection for many, through which emotions and thoughts can be shared,” said John Kim (12), cellist, pianist, and DJ. “But when someone tries to take away the public enjoyment of music and keep it to themselves, like Shkreli, they are taking away the basic meaning of music. No one should be entitled to take away an artist’s creation from the enjoyment of millions.”
Shkreli already garnered a title of infamy through his company Turing Pharmaceuticals before he started his attempts at purchasing albums. Shkreli’s efforts to take sole possession of Kanye’s album were met with much anger by the public, but fans had the last laugh once the album was released.
“I know how important music can be to people, because I have particular albums–such as B2B albums—that I couldn’t live without,” said Judy Moon (10), avid fan of B2B, a Korean idol group. “Giving the album exclusively to one fan would extremely hurt and disappoint the rest. There seems to be little truth to Shkreli’s tweets, since he is already in much debt. Kanye also has his own debt to care about—both do not seem to be in the position to play around with copyrights.”