So we’ve all had the week to absorb the likes of TLOP through our sound waves. Or at least, that holds true for some of us. Those who weren’t at MSG during New York fashion week or didn’t get catch a screening of the show in their city, subscribed to a free month of Tidal just to catch Yeezy Season 3 and the debut of The Life of Pablo. Others decided to wait out its initial release to download the project through a Torrent website, literally making it online pirate gold. Then there are those who decided not to listen to the album all together due to its lack of availability on other streaming services outside Tidal.
Now while this did drive Tidal up to being one of the most downloaded free app’s in iOS, who’s to say any of these new subscribers will actually pay for the streaming service after the trial month concludes? Granted, Kanye did reserve all Good Friday music drops to play exclusively through Tidal, teasing about having 40 unreleased songs with Kendrick Lamar and another 40 with Young Thug. While there will be many of Ye, K. Dot and Thugger fans who will be unable to withhold themselves from such musical gems, its hard to say whether or not that will be enough to convert and keep enough consumers on the Tidal streaming service.
Personally, I subscribed to a free month of Tidal to stream Season 3 and the album premiere, however, a few days later a friend sent me a Google Drive folder of the entire album for me to save to iTunes. While the album is no 808’s or MBDTF, I cannot deny the creative genius behind the production of each track. Honestly, with all the dedicated pirates roaming the internet, I’m sure hearing these exclusive Good Friday tracks won’t be much of an issue either. According to Nate Ingraham of Engadget, the album hit 500,000 downloads within the first few days alone. However, the fact that some fans were lucky enough to make a purchase during the initial release, it comes as no surprise that this highly anticipated album has become a piracy gold mine.
By deciding to no longer sell TLOP, Kanye could either reshape the way we view the need to purchase music or plunge himself further into debt. Then again, what’s $53 billion dollar debt if grabbing at custom baby Balmain and flights to Paris are within reach? Yet, as many times as Ye made changes to the album in the weeks leading up to its release, it’s possible that he will change his mind about Tidal’s exclusivity of all his new music. Let’s be honest, he could always blame this decision on Chance’s not wanting to sell music the way he blamed him for the albums delayed release.
I guess only time will tell.