- 21 Feb 22
The announcement has prompted over $2.2 million in orders for Kanye West's Stem Player.
Kanye West has announced that his upcoming album, Donda 2, will only be available to listen via his $200 (€176) Stem Player, which was released in conjunction with previous project, Donda.
"Donda 2 will only be available on my own platform, the Stem Player," the rapper wrote in an Instagram post last Friday, explicitly outlining that the album will not appear on the likes of Apple Music, Spotify and Youtube. "Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from this oppressive system. It’s time to take control and build our own."
He later revealed that he made $2.2 million (€1.9 million) in Stem Player orders in just 24 hours, saying in a now-deleted post: “I walked away from Apple right after having the most number 1’s in Apple history. Songwriters have been really hurt by streaming platforms.”
It's not the first promise of exclusivity to be made by the rapper. His acclaimed 2016 release The Life of Pablo was supposed to exist solely on Tidal, a streaming service owned by Jay Z. Within two months, the album was available on Spotify and Apple Music, prompting a lawsuit that was settled with undisclosed terms.
After the announcement, Apple reportedly pulled their $2 million sponsorship deal with Ye. The service was planning on streaming his live DONDA 2 event before the news of the Stem Player broke.
"Some say I’m the only one who can make this change. So as the leading innovator in music of the past 20 years. I’m putting my own work on the line to change it," he wrote in a deleted post. "I’ve already won by not being afraid to move. Now we’re winning because there are true supporters that have invested their hard earned money in my vision of freedom."
This protest is just the newest against streaming service's treatment of musicians, after indie-rock group The Pocket Gods released a 1,000 track album to highlight Spotify's low royalty rates.