Jay-Z & Kanye West’s Anti-Leak Methods Revealed

Last Monday (August 8), XXLMag.com investigated how Jay-Z and Kanye West managed to keep their highly-anticipated collaboration album, Watch the Throne, from leaking. Since then more details on the awe-inspiring feat have been revealed.

Billboard magazine spoke to one of the LP’s main engineers, Anthony Kilhoffer, to get the low down on how they were able to keep the project on lockdown. In addition to having a no-email policy when working with outside producers (as XXL previously reported, everyone who collaborated on the disc had to record in-person), Kilhoffer told Billboard that all of the sessions were saved to offsite hard drives, stored in a locked Pelican briefcase that were only accessible using his fingerprints. Kilhoffer and fellow WTT engineer, Mike Dean were the only men that had access to those files.

Along with those precautions, the duo didn’t send the CD to get pressed up until days after it already debuted on iTunes.

“I think there are a lot of people looking at this and saying, ‘Wow, maybe these guys are onto something,” an anonymous Roc Nation executive told Billboard. “I’d be surprised if many other artists don’t use this strategy as well.” —Elan Mancini

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  • Patrick

    Interesting, but it still doesn’t change the fact that at 0:03 AM it was already online everywhere

  • o.skino

    of course it changes things… so many people want to download it just cause they figure why not have it before it comes out. Some people just cant wait. But now it doesn’t leak till the day it actually hits stores… some people will just be like, f*ck it… i might as well buy it now!

    • RapRadar.comIsBetter

      Your buggin, just because it leaks the same day it comes out doesn’t mean people will buy it. People download albums weeks after it’s been released. NOBODY says “Fuck it, i’ll buy it since it’s in the store.” If you weren’t going to buy it in the first place, then that would make no difference you piece of shit. Oskino your a fat ass motherfucker go eat a dick hoe lol
      Now Watch the Throne FAGGOT

      • JugularKill

        You have no idea. Some people want to buy it but they want to download it first.. When the do that it’s less likely to buy it.

        Understand no everyone thinks like you. If a million people download an album probably about a quarter of them are potential buyers.

        The before launch is the biggest killer of leaks. Jay & Kanye’s people must have been real sincere bout this album.

      • SlyHigh

        THEM RapRadar what the fuck you gotta crazy on o.skino. Your actin like this nigga kill you whole family wit his fuckin comment, just chill and get medicated.

  • Sigh

    Not true considering I can list you 5 albums I had no interest in buying but bought on the strength the music when the album leaked before or after. Not sure about anybody else but my response alone proves your comment isn’t entirely correct

  • leakz

    Who cares so they stored everything offline and limited who had access, sounds like something every record label should have done from day one instead of bitching about piracy! Not to mention most of these “leaks” come from the damn studios themselves!

    • T


  • Jason Calderon

    Something else to think about: when an album leaks early, every blogger in the world picks it apart. They post their review and, good or bad, it can have an affect on people’s decision to purchase. By braking an album down track for track, it kills a lot of the mystery. With WTT, everyone was on equal playing field. Some people still purchase CD’s that they respect but download the ones they consider “meh”. If you have no idea what the music sounds like, and nobody else does either, people might be more inclined to go make the purchase so that they get the whole experience first.

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  • skippy407

    if its everywhere after the fact it was released, thats becuz people are downloading it and sharing it (like making torrents for it)… THAT WOULD BE CALLED BOOTLEGGING… leaking would mean it was being shared before its official release… DERRRRRRR ! !