Kanye West, Jay-Z Criticized for Watch the Throne Sales Strategy


Indie retailers are pleading with Jay-Z and Kanye West – now collectively known as The Throne – to re-think plans to offer exclusive sales windows of Watch the Throne to Best Buy and digital giant iTunes.

As previously reported, the highly-anticipated collaborative album is due out everywhere on August 12, but will be available exclusively on iTunes on August 8. The deluxe version of the CD will be sold exclusively at Best Buy until August 23.

According to Billboard, independent retailers have written an open letter to the superstar duo, calling the move a “short-sighted strategy” that will do “great damage to over 1,700 independent record stores — stores that have supported you and your music for years.”

“A two-week window will be disastrous for music retailers,” said Eric Levin, owner of Criminal Records and head of the Alliance of Independent Media Stores, about Best Buy’s exclusive hold on the deluxe album for nearly two weeks.

Others told Billboard that offering exclusives doesn’t benefit the buyer.

“Label executives forget what is convenient for the customer,” said Carl Mello, head of purchasing for Newbury Comics. “Making the album available in certain versions at certain times is not the most friendly thing for the customer, for whom it will feel like a game of hide and seek.”

Indie retailers say the exclusive windows will allow already massive companies to rake in the majority of album sales, harming the industry as a whole.

“This may work for Jay-Z,” said a retailer who asked to remain anonymous, “but he is hurting all the other retailers and this will affect the entire industry.” —Lauren Carter

  • Los Angeles Angelz

    Stop crying and play the game!

    • Steve

      Damn, you hit the nail on the head!

  • http://www.xxlmag.com C2

    Jay is more selfish dan I thot…nigga cnt stand tha fact hes fallin off….he knws dat Carter IV is abt 2 make history bt we’l see wt hapenz

    • Buda

      You must be a fucking idiot commenting from your moms work laptop he’s only had 11 CONSECUTIVE #1 ALBUMS falling off????

    • o.skino

      lil’Wayne???!!! Are u kidding boy? Wayne has a total of 9 albums if you count that unreleased Carter IV (garbage)… out of those 8 albums made… ONLY 3 WENT PLATINUM!!! he released 2 albums in 2010 & they only went GOLD!!! you’re damn right numbers don’t lie… EVERY JAY-Z ALBUM HAS GONE PLATINUM!!… his 9th (Kingdom Come, 2x Platinum)!!! His 8th (The Black Album… 3x Platinum)!!! His 3rd album (Vol.3), WENT 5X PLATINUM!!!… lil’Waynes 3rd album (that u never even listened to cause u’re one of those bandwahgon fruit rap fans) only went gold!!! GOLD!!! What are u like 17 – 18!!! Wayne can drop 10 more albums and his Career would be considered miniscule to G.O.A.T.’s like Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, Dr.Dre!! Shit, 50 Cent has gone Platinum more times in 2 albums than lil’wayne in his WHOLE CAREER!!! come on kid… this is apples & oranges my friend. You’re comparing Mello to Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabar, & Jordan…. it’s just plain nonsense. PIPE DREAMS!!!

      • o.skino

        3rd album is VOL.2** m’bad

  • ????

    You are exactly right!!! C2… But the numbers wont lie!!!!! Carter IV August 29th!!!!!

  • CHInigga

    C2 i had to comment,you sound dumb af ! hov aint neva fallin off and you know that,nigga put up 11 #1s in a row,by himself! he deserves a moment like this,and hes not doin it cuz of him,their both doin it cuz this what fans wanted..now bet if wayne n drake decided to do a joint album youll be moonwalkin all over they sack !

  • prettynana43

    Im a ride or die chick for jay z,bee since day one,,,but i think jay is jumping out the indow with this one. Sorry Jay, what have u los your mind yo!what about the independent record stores that have supported your music thus far,I think its a terrible decision,I see catastrophy behind your quick rash decision, doing something so senseless as that is like cutting off your nose 2spite your face!!!! dont do that pa!

  • http://thisis50.com PM

    I’m sure best buy is paying them for the deal. most artist don’t make money on cd sells so getting guaranteed profit from best buy is a good look for them. I get this may hurt the independent stores, but no less then online piracy. The album will be leaked a week or two before the launch date just like all other major cd releases.

  • greenlite616

    I don’t like that idea at all I kow it’s a smart move Jay-Z and Kayne but I’m not feeling it I personally still buy cd’s at least the ones I like and I love the independent record stores except for the prices but other than that what I like about independent store is if you want an album that Best buy won’t carry they will make sure to order it for you if they don’t haveit in stock plus services is better

  • Technocom

    Two weeks with Bestbuy and Itunes, the two make Millions. Ignore Bestbuy and Itunes, the independent retailers make more money and the two lose millions. I mean is this common sense or what? Both are finding strategies to make more money and sadly the independent retailers are the ones losing and only blaming Kanye and Jayz with guilt. They would do the same thing if they were Bestbuy or Itunes.

  • http://icebergjamz.com TYRUS STARR

    Its not a problem on aug 8 ill download the sh*t then make a 1000 copies of the sh*t and slang’em for a 1 dollar on the street. Ima do my part to take food out they mouth RICH FAGGOTS! FCUK YOUR CD NIGG*S!!
    REAL NIGG*S WILL GET YOUR SH*T DONT MATTER WHERE YOU PUT THAT SH*T

    • $yk

      and the RIAA and ICE thank you for providing this info and the link to another site so they can track your IP and see if you follow up on your threat.

  • $yk

    you cats don’t understand…they’re creating an epic strategy to get the most sales upfront…the mom & pop stores will get the project and eat…just see that the strategy works more for them than Best Buy & iTunes.

    The demand will be created already for them to get the shelves stocked with the supply.

    And TBH, that “exclusive” talk is nonsense…I’ve copped deluxe CDs on/in the discount racks/shelves…

  • Big Dave

    Yo wat the fuck i still gotta wait 4 mafuckin weeks fa dis shit to hit stores. God Damn, The Throne fuckin up right now B. Ima have to download it when it leak now.

  • Anthony

    This is a great move for J and K, i bootleg every album i’m gonna line my ass up and buy this collbo and download it……FYI lil wayne is the biggest bitch ever he a gay ass negro

  • Diz

    Hey, it’s called a strategy for a reason…doesn’t mean it’ll work. Honestly, I don’t care who’s selling the cd. The music industry is already screwed up anyway, so if Jay & Ye can do something in their favor, more power to them. Either way, I don’t make a dime off of it!! If the music is trash, then it’s a waste of my money and the retailer still benefits. Don’t hear them complaining about selling wack music…oh, I forgot they don’t make the music they just sell it….foh

  • http://xxl Diamondz

    ill buy the album just to wipe my ass with the cd cover LOl fuck jay z

  • Shawty J

    This is not a new strategy, numerous recording artists in various genres have been dropping “limited edition” and “store exclusive” version of albums from years. I think some of these smaller stores have a legitimate right to complain, but they’re way to late for that. They should’ve tried to stop shit like this from happening when artists started recording iTunes exclusive bonus tracks.

  • No Name

    While I understand the concern, why bitch about it now? Downloads, yes, even the legal ones, have been kicking music retail’s ass for about the last five years now. If people don’t have to get up off their ass to purchase music, then they won’t. It’s not iTune’s, Zune’s, BearShare’s or even Rhapsody’s fault. It’s just the way the tables have turned. CD’s are today’s cassette tapes.

  • StayAwakeToTheWays

    Fuck sales and just bootleg this shit. Those fucks don’t need another penny. I wanna see everybody this week searchin the shit out of the web for this album on any host website. and i’m being foreal on this people. Follow through..

  • Malik.Mixtape.Fiend

    Falling off?? Excuse me but Carter IV is going to fail…The sales will be HUGE but the songs and production will just be the same repacked bullshit since 2009? ALL OF IT SOUND THE SAME!

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  • GADA

    what y’all never bought a jay cd from an independent retailer? They ring up the cd with the same one over and over again because they sell the shit a week early giving the bootleggers an extra hand at putting it out early! Stop crying go to best buy or iTunes the independent store has the highest prices an illegitimate practices! Album is fire shout out to best buy for having it right up front for $13 for the deluxe