And when asked to justify this decision, last week Jay’s manager John Meneilly claimed that it was to prevent the album from sprouting a premature leak and other assorted forms of piracy, another statement that was immediately laughed at and deemed impossible. But nothing’s impossible, right?
A record leaking two to three weeks before its scheduled release has become the norm in 2011. Even the biggest ones. Eminem’s Recovery leaked two weeks before schedule and 50 Cent’s Before I Self-Destruct appeared a whopping month early. In many cases, by the time the official date rolls around, the record is old news already and fans are on to the next one.
It has long been assumed that copies are stolen during pressing, but Watch The Throne has obviously been pressed for some time now and there wasn’t even so much as a whimper of an unauthorized graphic, much less the album. So, maybe the duo was onto something after all?
Perhaps the source of the leaks has been the family-owned shops all along or maybe these two just got really, really lucky. But whatever they did worked and it’s bound to turn some heads because the labels are always watching. Fair or not, a trend could possibly be set, one which sees more and more artists cutting out the small business in favor of the conglomerate.
And how can they go wrong? Stores like Best Buy and Target are practically everywhere, so accessibility is definitely not an issue. These stores also have the most marketing power and we assume most of the units are already sold from these outlets. Most of all though, the album didn’t leak early, so sticking with the majors may have more securityIt may be a hard pill to swallow but music is not free. Music is entertainment, and entertainment costs money. Just like movies and sports, the owners must be compensated. It’s not fair to the rappers who oftentimes invest much of their own dough into their music to wind up getting no return on it. The cash isn’t flowing and that’s why most stores have scaled down their CD aisles and why 360 deals came about. And when Watch The Throne moves the units it’s expected to, don’t be surprised when more labels decide to cut the mom-and-pops out of the loop.
Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne Tracklist1. No Church In The Wild f. Frank Ocean (prod. Kanye West, Mike Dean & Ken Lewis)
2. Lift Off f. Beyoncé (prod. Kanye West, Mike Dean, Jeff Bhasker, Q-Tip & Don Jazzy; Additional Vocals by Seal, Mr Hudson, Don Jazzy, Bankulli & Ricardo Louis)
3. Ni**as In Paris (prod. Hit-Boy)
4. Otis f. Otis Redding (prod. Kanye West)
5. Gotta Have It (prod. The Neptunes)
6. New Day (prod. The RZA)
7. That’s My Bi**h (prod. Q-Tip & Kanye West)
8. Who Gon’ Stop Me (prod. Sham “Sak Pase” Joseph & Kanye West)
9. Murder To Excellence (prod. Swizz Beatz & Symbolyc One)
10. Welcome To The Jungle (prod. Swizz Beatz)
11. Made In America f. Frank Ocean (prod. Sham “Sak Pase” Joseph)
12. Why I Love You f. Mr Hudson (prod. Mike Dean & Kanye West)
13. Illest Motherf*cker Alive (prod. Southside & Kanye West) *
14. H*A*M (prod. Lex Luger & Kanye West) *
15. Primetime (prod. No I.D.) *
16. The Joy f. Curtis Mayfield (prod. Pete Rock & Kanye West) *
* – Bonus Tracks