Did you go anywhere near the Internet yesterday? If you did, you will certainly be aware that Kanye West’s latest album, ‘Yeezus’, has leaked. Not that it bothers Mr. West, as he has made it apparent that he gives “no f*cks at all”.
In true Kanye style, the ever unpredictable rapper held an impromptu listening party at the annual Art Basel fair in Switzerland. During the playback of the album, people were free to record the album on their phones. West took to the microphone on several occasions, and made it very clear that the album leaking before its official release date was not something he was prepared to concern himself with.
“I’ve got an idea on how to sell more music; it’s called make better music” Kanye said, inciting cheers from the audience. “What I said last night is we drop this sh*t June 18th. This ain’t about waiting ‘til August and having a big this and that. It’s about delivering sh*t for you all now to work to, ride to, listen to and working out and sh*t or whatever y’all doing”.
Let’s face it: given Kanye’s penchant for speaking in a way that make very little sense to anyone who isn’t named “Kanye West”, and these outbursts could be dismissed as the ramblings of a mad man. However, it is important to remember that Kanye is a lot smarter than a lot of people give him credit for, and that this could be some very clever marketing. This year’s biggest selling album, Daft Punk’s ‘Random Access Memories’, arguably created a lot of hype around its release due to a leak and a free stream on iTunes. Other bands have followed suit; godfathers of heavy metal, Black Sabbath, gave their fans a free stream their latest album, “13”, and preliminary sales show that the album might be their first UK number 1 album since 1970. Several other rappers, such Tyler, the Creator, have made careers out of releasing free mixtapes, choosing to draw revenue through merchandise and touring instead. This has shown to be successful, as Tyler now has a net worth of $4million.
It would be foolish to say that Kanye is definitely right. Correlation does not necessarily mean causation, and there are a lot of other factors in the artists that have been previously mentioned success. However, with more and more artists having a devil-may-care attitude to people having a free listen of their work before it is officially released, these comments from West may not be mindless egotism, but a sign of the times for the music industry. Perhaps having an artist as big as Kanye comment on this issue will finally cause the old folks who still fear piracy to wake up to the fact that leaks does not necessarily harm sales. On the other hand, Kanye has already made his millions, and leaks may not be embraced so fervently by bands that are living on the breadline.
Yeezus is officially released on the 18th of June. The leak is out there, obviously, but for legal reasons I advise you to stay away from it. Not that Kanye cares…
Did you go anywhere near the internet yesterday? If you did, you will certainly be aware that Kanye West’s latest album, ‘Yeezus’, has leaked. Not that it bothers Mr. West, as he has made it apparent that he gives “no f*cks at all”. In true Kanye...