With the recent launch of Jay-Z (Sean Carter) and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne album, many people have been wondering how they kept the album so heavily guarded against internet piracy and album leaks that have plagued many of this generation’s musicians. Some may say its “magic”, but it’s no mystery that Ye and Hov had a plan from the start.
Kanye and Jay-Z’s Secret Anti-Piracy Methods for Watch The Throne are revealed below:
1. No Email Policy
This is probably one of the biggest reasons why Watch The Throne sold 290k its first week. Nearly every hip hop album that has been released since the rise of the internet has somehow managed to leak itself into the dark corners of the internet. With this album, Jay-Z and Kanye took an old, but tried and true approach. No emailing of songs. According to Billboard Magazine , the core group of engineers disabled all WiFi capabilities to their computers. In this way, hackers would not be able to take hold of the Throne via digital means as seen with the newer generation of hip hop artists’ albums.
2. The Production Team Met in Person
With the prominence of the internet, it has become normal for artists, producers, and songwriters to share information related to production over the internet. Whether using a file sharing program like Dropbox or sending something via an instant messenger client like AIM, it is all too common for people to go online to exchange information quickly and conveniently. West and Carter thought otherwise. Under heavy surveillance, the dynamic duo required that all outside producers, including RZA, Swizz Beats, and HitBoy among others, meet in person to build the Throne. Again, this is not a new tactic, but one employed from the past that worked very well in our digital age.
3. All Sessions Saved Offsite
Saving all music production sessions offsite was another major step in preventing the Throne’s untimely release. Recordings were not at a central location or studio. The Throne team traveled to various places around the world, but made sure that security was a top priority. Using Eikon’s Digital Privacy Manager in conjunction with Zvetco Finger Print Reader and a securely locked Pelican Briefcase, the Throne team ensured that only authorized parties would gain and maintain access to the session files.
4. Late Shipping
Unlike some albums which are shipped to manufacturers way ahead of time, Yeezy and Jigga decided to wait until the last possible moment to ship the completed work to manufacturers. This happened days before their album’s release. With needle like precision and the patience of a Chess player, the dynamic duo kept this effort hush hush!
5. Limited Previews, Listening Sessions
With 2 completely different styles of singles released, Otis and H.A.M. and 2 listening sessions with limited media access in New York City, Jay and Ye kept people guessing. They gave the public and media just enough to “wet their whistles”. This further helped advertise and build a buzz around the Throne.
This was huge! Watch The Throne avoided the BIG LEAK by maintaining exclusivity. By initially only releasing the album digitally via iTunes, West and Carter made sure people would:
A. Pay for the album
B. Visit the iTunes store to download it
This was a big step for not only Anti-piracy, but also branding. Fans now had the opportunity to truly experience an album for the first time through iTunes. Given the current climate of the music industry, this was a rarity indeed.
The next stop for Watch The Throne was Best Buy where the exclusive deluxe edition was distributed.
By limiting the accessibility and ease of access to download the album, Kanye and Jay-Z were able to direct traffic to the distribution channels they desired.
Given their widespread influence, it would not be surprising if other artists started implementing some of these strategies to prevent illegal downloads of their music. In all likelihood, these tactics will soon be the new trend among record labels and future music talents.