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Jay-Z and Kanye West Blasted by Independent Record Store Owners

Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch The Throne will likely be the biggest hip-hop release of the summer. But the two rap stars and their record labels, Def Jam and Roc Nation, have decided to offer the album exclusively through iTunes from Aug. 8 to Aug. 12. And from Aug. 12 until Aug. 24, Best Buy will be the only retailer allowed to sell the deluxe edition of the CD.

More than 50 independent retailers nationwide have taken Jay-Z and Kanye West to task for shutting them out of first week sales opportunities. The retailers released an open letter that encouraged the two to reconsider.

“We are responding to the bad news that your new album will not be available to independent record stores until after iTunes gets a window of exclusivity. We also learned that the deluxe version (which is what the true music fans who shop our stores will want, by an overwhelming majority) will only be available at Best Buy exclusively for a period of time. We believe this is a short-sighted strategy, and that your decisions will be doing great damage to over 1,700 independent record stores. As representatives of the independent record store music community, we are asking you to allow record stores and music fans equal access to your new album.”

Independent record stores played a major role in supplying hip-hop music to fans before major retailers realized the powerful impact of the music.

But now that hip-hop has become a billion-dollar industry, it’s unfortunate that the top stars in hip-hop are turning their backs on the institutions that supported them from the beginning.

amir shaw

Are Jay-Z and Kanye West turning their backs on independent record stores, or are they expanding hip-hop by signing exclusive deals with major retailers?  Leave a comment.




27 Comments

  1. Vandellish on August 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Uh yes…they’ve become big corporate stooges and it’s been that way for a while…you can actually hear it in their music and lyrics too. I actually think these guys are super-talented but don’t expect anything less than superficial efforts from them for the most part from here on out.
    For example, our country has been gripped in war for over 10 years now. Ever heard these guys mention anything about that? How about black on black crime? Poverty? Again, just about nothing. Artists before 2000 would’ve jumped on these issues. Something changed around 10 years ago but mainstream consumers don’t seem to care. To each his own.

  2. Vandellish on August 2, 2011 at 2:03 pm

    Uh yes…they’ve become big corporate stooges and it’s been that way for a while…you can actually hear it in their music and lyrics too. I actually think these guys are super-talented but don’t expect anything less than superficial efforts from them for the most part from here on out.
    For example, our country has been gripped in war for over 10 years now. Ever heard these guys mention anything about that? How about black on black crime? Poverty? Again, just about nothing. Artists before 2000 would’ve jumped on these issues. Something changed around 10 years ago but mainstream consumers don’t seem to care. To each his own.

    • One business to another on August 2, 2011 at 2:39 pm

      Talk/ Rap about black on black crime, the war or poverty for what? Really?! We did that already and nothing changed. We experience poverty because in many households education is not as important as basketball wives, the GUCCI purse purchased with an income tax check, rims on a high end vehicle or even worse trying to make piece of crap look high end. Then we turn around and kill & steal from each other over the same items mentioned earlier. I applaud Jay & Kanye for doing good strong business. If you own a record store WAKE up! Technology & downloading have been killing your business for quite sometime now. It’s wrong to pin the results of your already declining business on 2 artist. If the independents want to stay in business they should continue to help unknown artist and possibly enter into some exclusive deals with smaller labels…everybody else please stop crying and oh yeah, WATCH THE THRONE!!

      • Mistashock on August 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm

        The Independent stores DO promote up and coming artists. But in older to continue to do that they need the top artists to keep them profitable while they sell the less known artists. Independent record stores were the heart of Hip-Hop. This isn’t just big business, it goes well beyond that. If u ask those in the know, they will tell you that this is another attempt in a long line of issues designed to divide our input and to lessen the communication among our people.

        When countries go to war, one of the 1st things they do is destroy communication. They bought BET, Essence, Our Voices, They control our radio stations, newspapers and now are excluding our local independent retailers.

      • Prosperitygbk on August 2, 2011 at 5:44 pm

        YOU SOUND WHITE.

        • Sevendemcee on August 2, 2011 at 11:02 pm

          You sound shallow…

        • Uncle Chuck on August 5, 2011 at 3:35 am

          You’re saying that Blacks can’t think and write like that? There ARE Blacks who can speak intelligently and write sentences that can be understood.

      • Vandellish on August 3, 2011 at 3:33 pm

        I beg to differ that nothing changed from progressive and informational music. I myself and a sh!tload of my friends who grew up without fathers were VERY inspired by the lyrics of X-Clan, BDP, Poor Righteous Teachers and Brand Nubian and PE. These artists inspired me about community building and educating myself to certain issues and bouncing my knowledge against the mainstream’s take on them.

        It’s funny how you say that our people spend loads of $ on the wrong priorities but fully support artists that indulge in that same ‘Big Willie’ speak (or whatever they’re callin it now). Why? Because they make a lot of $???

        Yes tangible record sales are going away but that’s no reason to turn backs on the independent record stores who helped put Jay-Z and Kanye on the ‘throne’ in the first place!

        Lastly I don’t think anyone was blaming the decline on these 2 artists, I just think in this particular case it is appropriate for them to see how this hurts the small business owner. They may not have recognized it before.

        Still I think your ideas about the Indy stores getting with the upcoming and lesser known artists is great…good job on that.

    • Intrinsicgroup on August 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      There was an exchange of money for morals…. seemed to creep up right before Tupac died.  Diddy in that shiny suit seemed to hypnotize the youth and supplied advertisers and brand ambassadors a open line to market to and miseducate Black Youth….  Subliminal s and Visuals happen to work its called marketing. Shameful but Only In America do we blatantly sell out our future for cash.

    • Intrinsicgroup on August 2, 2011 at 3:05 pm

      There was an exchange of money for morals…. seemed to creep up right before Tupac died.  Diddy in that shiny suit seemed to hypnotize the youth and supplied advertisers and brand ambassadors a open line to market to and miseducate Black Youth….  Subliminal s and Visuals happen to work its called marketing. Shameful but Only In America do we blatantly sell out our future for cash.

    • West179 on August 2, 2011 at 5:10 pm

      Vandellish, have you listened to any Kanye West or Jay-Z album in the past decade? I’m certain you haven’t, otherwise you wouldn’t have posted such an ignorant comment about the content of their lyrics when they’ve addressed every single one of those issues.

      • Vandellish on August 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm

        Actually West, I’m in Chicago and I KNEW Kanye before he made it big. I’ve listened to most (I admit not all) of him and JayZ albums, mixtapes, whatever. And NO they really don’t truly address these issues though they may make mention of social issues here and there. A far cry from what was considered progressive back in the days. Jay-Z?? When has he said anything more than a single line about any of these issues??? Pull them out for me please! If you find these songs and post them on here for me then I will admit I’m wrong and retract my statement.
        As far as me posting an ‘ignorant comment’ understand that it’s easy to talk tough on the web. Let’s pretend we actually respect one another and not say things in type that we likely wouldn’t communicate in person.

        • Ive630 on August 4, 2011 at 9:23 pm

          Listen to Minority Report on the Black Album – he addresses hurrican Katrina and racism.

          He’s addressed social issues in the black community in songs like Meet the Parents. Those are just two I can think of off the top of my head, but you need to do your research buddy. I can admit Kanye used to talk about these issues much more than he does now.

          • ivan630 on August 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm

            hurricane* , and I meant Kingdom Come for the Minority Report song. I’m not saying that he focuses a great deal on it, but he does have songs about important issues. And he had a song about president obama as well.



          • Vandellish on August 5, 2011 at 6:50 pm

            I’ll give you Minority Report (I didn’t listen to it but maybe once or twice because the beat was so dull; it’s almost like he saved the weakest track for the ‘message’ song) so good job. Still, to say that he’s addressed social issues in a few songs isn’t the same thing as saying he’s spoken out against the war. Messages in songs can be spun however we want to spin them but when someone is standing tall in their community at town halls, local events, etc…talking about organizing and fighting against the ills I spoke of that’s a totally different ballgame. But in you and West179’s defense, I didn’t make myself completely clear about what I meant when I said ‘speaking out.’ A major artist’s presence at political events do waaay more good than just music…buddy.
            BTW I have done ‘research’. You’re typing to a person who did their dissertation on the commercialization of mainstream rap (got an A too). Make all the excuses for these guys that you want, they still are scared to make anti-war records. Everybody’s a big pu$$y these days compared to the 60s as far as that goes.
            thanx for reading though.



          • dora on August 9, 2011 at 8:09 pm

            you’re making the assumption that he IS against the war… not everyone is, meaning not everyone is obligated to “speak out against” it. 



          • Umbasi2 on August 12, 2011 at 2:08 pm

            You’re absolutely right…I shouldn’t make an assumption that he is against the war. He did make a song called “Black Republicans” so my mistake. You’re also right about not being obligated to “speak out” against it too. No one is.
            Then again, we’re not obligated to take care of our young people or respect our women either. There is a high cost of low standards in this world that we are just now tapping into because culture (or lack of), morals, and ideas are spread so quickly these days. We’ll see how these Michael Jordan levels of blandness on important issues affect our community going forward.
            In their defense the new WTT album does speak on some relevant issues so good job by them…maybe they’d heard the whispers out here. Thanks for reading.



          • Vandellish on August 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm

            BTW Barack Obama never really intended to do anything for the black community. His motto of ‘a rising tide will lift all boats’ is political BS speak at it’s finest. Now if Jigga had a song about Cynthia Mckinney…

            Face it Jay and Kanye could do a lot more with their status and influence. If they are the immovable forces that they claim to be why not do some grassroots political engagements and spout off some real sh!t. I’ll tell you why because they’re afraid the machine that they are linked to will cut them off. Sh!t it happened to Janet.



          • Vandellish on August 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm

            BTW Barack Obama never really intended to do anything for the black community. His motto of ‘a rising tide will lift all boats’ is political BS speak at it’s finest. Now if Jigga had a song about Cynthia Mckinney…

            Face it Jay and Kanye could do a lot more with their status and influence. If they are the immovable forces that they claim to be why not do some grassroots political engagements and spout off some real sh!t. I’ll tell you why because they’re afraid the machine that they are linked to will cut them off. Sh!t it happened to Janet.



      • Vandellish on August 3, 2011 at 3:45 pm

        Actually West, I’m in Chicago and I KNEW Kanye before he made it big. I’ve listened to most (I admit not all) of him and JayZ albums, mixtapes, whatever. And NO they really don’t truly address these issues though they may make mention of social issues here and there. A far cry from what was considered progressive back in the days. Jay-Z?? When has he said anything more than a single line about any of these issues??? Pull them out for me please! If you find these songs and post them on here for me then I will admit I’m wrong and retract my statement.
        As far as me posting an ‘ignorant comment’ understand that it’s easy to talk tough on the web. Let’s pretend we actually respect one another and not say things in type that we likely wouldn’t communicate in person.

  3. TruthBTold on August 2, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    The only way they will go platium in this day in age is to create a strategy like this. They’ll prentend like they’ve sold 10 million albums, but really all they will do is ship 10 million copies to best buy. In the music business you dont have to SELL to go platinum you just have to SHIP, lol Most of their fans are not BUYING anything! Think about it, it’s all GAME!

    • Lusciousredlips_24 on August 2, 2011 at 7:41 pm

      I heard about this too, that the record companies are the one’s buying up their own artists CDs and then giving free merchandise by sending out free copies to radio stations, contests and etc. etc.

  4. JAYNE DOH! on August 3, 2011 at 11:04 am

    i wish both of will go away for atleast a five year vacation and take beyawnce with them.

  5. Perejeff2000 on August 3, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Its just what they had to do, let just sit back and watch……..i can’t say much

  6. Sherri Etienne on August 3, 2011 at 3:51 pm

    First of all, why am I Watching the Throne? I mean seriously, what’s the rest of the world doing while everybody else is watching this throne? Are Kanye and Jay-Z calling their followers into their kingdom and if so, what kingdom and why do I want to watch? Really. Are we talking throne as in a King’s chair or a toilet seat? They either want me to watch their crowning or listen to their sh*t! Uh no!

    These sales and marketing decisions once again prove that rich people don’t give a damn about poor people. As far as they’re concerned, they got there’s so you better get yours because I’m not helping you anymore. Bottom line, iTunes is better equipped to watch and track the music sales and the music buyers. They are the watchful “i” of Tunes or the music you listen to and buy. Just as your “i” Phone monitors your calls and “i” Pad your activities. So of course the first week, when sales are at there all time high, iTunes gets it and Best Buy who is an Apple partner would be second in line.

    Don’t get offended people, to them its Business 101. And with that said, you just need to realize that you have to get along to go along. There’s no real profit from your sales so to them it doesn’t make cents. Its time to rethink your position and come up with a better strategy. Trust, if you think about it the mission is way bigger than just cutting out the little guy. Sad, but true.

  7. HireMeAccenture.com on August 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    They did this to prevent the album from leaking.  It’s tough for record store owners, but it has helped to keep their album off the streets and the internet thus far

    Help Me Get A Job Please!
    www[dot]hiremeaccenture[dot]com

    Leave A Comment!

  8. Exspensivejohnson on August 14, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    Of course they are!that’s why there will be millions of bootleg copies sold