Turns out Ye just doesn’t stop. After announcing that his heavily-anticipated upcoming album will only be available on his stem player late last week, Ye reported that he generated over $2 million in sales from it in 3 days – proving, as ever, that Kanye stans don’t come to play.
But is this a new frontier for music releases, or just a quick marketing ploy? Well, maybe a bit of both. The stem player itself is actually quite cool, breaking down songs into their individual ‘stems’, or parts, which allows the user to both hear the songs’ construction and try their hand at portable music mixing. What’s more, they work with the most existing audio and songs, meaning you can experiment and learn about the production process of your go-to karaoke jam, or the song that will guarantee someone gives you the aux.
However, at $200, they’re relatively inaccessible for the majority of music fans, who could probably do the same thing online. By announcing that the new album will exclusively be available on the player, Ye is effectively releasing a $200 album. Hmm.
Perhaps for Ye though, this $2 million in 3 days is merely a drop in the ocean. Well, actually, it almost certainly is. This week, we were also privy to the news that the musician has reportedly rejected an 100 million dollar deal from Apple – who wanted to snap up Donda 2 for an exclusive release on Apple Music.
Ye’s line on all of this is that he is taking back ownership of his music, writing on Instagram that ‘Donda 2 will only be available on my own platform, the Stem Player. Not on Apple Amazon Spotify or YouTube. Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from the oppressive system. It’s time to take control and build our own.’
Recalling the days of Tidal’s A-list launch, which promised to revolutionise the streaming world but inevitably fell into relative obscurity, we’re not sure Ye’s $200 stem player will build any sort of system, non-oppressive or not. Also, Donda 2 will undoubtedly pop up on, cough, illicit streaming sites, before most probably making their way back to the classics (Apple, Spotify etc). Who knows though – with his legion of loyal fans, anything could happen. Ye works hard, but Ye stans work harder.
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