Jay-Z & Kanye West Miraculously Manage to Keep Watch the Throne Leak-Free

For the first time since the dawn of the Internet age, one of the year’s most anticipated albums has remained leak-free. Jay-Z and Kanye West’s joint album, Watch the Throne, ceremoniously hit iTunes today (August 8), and the duo, collectively known as The Throne, have miraculously managed to keep their LP under tight guard.

How were they able to manage this shocking feat? It’s hard to say exactly, especially when everyone is remaining tight-lipped on what could be a new leak-proof way of releasing albums. Calls to both Jay and Ye’s camps by XXLMag.com yielded no comment. Yet, Jycorri Robinson, director of digital marketing for Def Jam, which is releasing WTT along with Roc-A-Fella Records and Roc Nation, offered some insight.

“Kanye and Jay are just very tight with the music,” he told XXL. “Even so far as to where they’ve been, Kanye and Jay have been at every listening session, every event, that there has been and that’s because they’re holding that music so tight to them. There hasn’t been [any] copies floating around the [Def Jam] office ’cause that shit is in a vault.”

“They just took it back to the old school, man,” he continued. “They recorded the entire album together; no verses emailed back and forth. It’s just tight eyes on it, only one or two people having access to it.”

As Robinson points out, most rap CDs leak about two weeks before they’re supposed to, around the same time the albums leave the record plants where they press up the physical copies of the discs.

“When it hits those trucks [from the factory] it’s a wrap,” he said.

In an interview with Angie Martinez on New York radio station Hot 97 last Monday, Jay-Z explained further. As XXL previously reported, four days after WTT comes out digitally-only on iTunes, it will be available exclusively at Best Buy until August 23. The independent record stores were upset about this business strategy—even going so far as to write a letter to the two—but Jigga said, the move was necessary to prevent the music from coming out prematurely.

“We made this album and it took us eight months,” he said. “We should be able to release it the way we like, without everybody being up in arms. The real reason behind it is we didn’t want the music to leak. We wanted to present to the people in its entirety. When you send it out, once it leaves the plant and that’s the end of it.”

Jay-Z’s manager, John Meneilly, was confident the album would come out according to plan. “It is not going to leak,” he wrote on his Twitter account last Wednesday.

Mike Dean, a producer that played a major role in creating the LP, was so happy with the outcome, he also took to Twitter, but his tone was more celebratory. “[Thanks] to everyone who supported the no leak of #WTT,” he said, “this is a new way to deliver music man (sic)!!!”

Job well done. —Jesse Gissen

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  • Business Man

    They didn’t release the material to indie record stores, because those store usually get the supply early before the release date. Its the same thing with video games. Indie stores get the material early, and a few bad apples decide to leak it. That’s why the indie stores wrote a complaint letter about the marketing plan of the album. But the problem is that if this is really the reason (As Jay-Z has said with an interview with Angie Martinez), than many other artist will follow and indie stores might get out of business.

    • D.Stanton

      yeah its like the last fatal blow to indie stores because most people dont like it when stuff leaks ….but hey we are in a music revolution ….nobody is safe ….stores…labels …artists …. especially the wack artist lol…

    • $yk

      honestly, it’s not about the indie stores…

      it’s the promotional copies…the copies that go to the record review people, the radio station people, the magazine people…there was no mass promo shipment by the label for the last push before the release date so the interns, staff workers, mailroom/shipping people had no access. Also remember these people I named are international, not just domestic.

      So when New Zealand had the chance to iTunes it, there was only a snippet leak (I’m guessing there was a coding on the files), then when we had the chance for digital download, it was on some of the file sharing sites, but taken down (again the file coding).

      I think what I stated had more to do with the non-leak than the indie stores being cut out, it was the wolves of the industry not being able to get the “exclusive” that preserved the non-leak.

  • rmpwolf

    Tyler, The Creator’s Goblin never leaked until the day the CD was released in Europe so in reality this isn’t that revolutionary :/

    • el b 1

      thats because nobody wanted it…

      • CLG

        LMFAO…true that! Tyler the who?

    • Drew Roberts

      yeah, cause so much of the work was done in-house… tyler producing everything and all and syd mastering it.

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    • that nigga

      Thats fucked up, XXL should take that post down and Jay and Ye should shut your fuckin site down. Not cool at all.

  • matty21

    i mean… this is big – this culd and is most likely going 2 set anotherr new standard ha, 4real tho just the fact they did it and pulled it off – such an in demand album n shit too (if they can keep this album under locks and maximized on da bizness end – others shuld be able too, at least it will be attempted…if done like jay n kanye did – setting an example and way of doing da shit)…it will now be aspired 2 more and looked 2 becuz it was pulled off…and big ups obviously, still setting new standards and future ways of doing things and doing buisness – this will as of now, probably stand up and greatly impact da future and music industry… gotta say good shit

  • igtacos

    ummmmm ok i dont get it. if they put it out on itunes , people can download it , then bootleg it. i know lots of people know how to do tht.

    • o.skino

      That’s not the point… the point is that they are the 1st album to not get leaked in like 15yrs!!! and when albums get leaked, it’s usually 2 weeks before its release date. You know how many more people are gonna go buy that album because it wasn’t leaked 2 weeks ago??!!

      (not me though… dem niggas got enough doe, i downloaded that shit 9:30am after it finally was thrown online!!! and its an official iTunes version!! lol)


    Its cool because on one hand, it cuts the illegal downloading down by a lot, on the other hand it just delayed the illegal downloading process until the album releases.It wont completely stop people from stealing the music or having a friend bring it over and let them download it, but it was a good way to curb some of it.

    • nihir


      Study after study has shown that people who pirate music actually spend MORE money on music than those who don’t. Music leaks get downloaded because people are anxious for the latest music.

      People who can afford to buy albums and want to support the artist will end up buying the album, going to the concert, buying merchandise; in other words, paying the artist.

      Piracy is only a problem because the music industry made buying music more difficult than stealing it. Exclusive deals with iTunes or BestBuy don’t solve that problem.

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  • Big balla

    “Tyler, The Creator’s Goblin never leaked until the day the CD was released in Europe so in reality this isn’t that revolutionary :/”

    Man are you for real don’t nobody want to listen to that garbage..

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