Kanye West Dropped His Planned New Album Track List On Friday Thursday 2just after saying it wouldn’t be available to stream, but only on his own “Voice Player” device.
The mercurial artist said the device will allow listeners to play four different track elements — vocals, drums, bass and music — and will cost $200.
“Tech companies have made music practically for free, so if you’re not doing merchandising sneakers and tours, you’re not eating,” West wrote on Instagram, as part of a series of posts on the topic.
“I feel the same way when I first moved to New York to make it in music. I don’t know what would happen, but I knew I had to move,” the 44-year-old billionaire continued.
“No one can pay me not to be respected. We set our own price for our art.”
It’s not the first time West has bumped into streaming models or toyed with unconventional release methods.
After dropping The life of Pablo in 2016 – first exclusively on the platform Tide – West continued to edit the record, adding vocals, new lyrics and remixing.
Last year he gave a preview Thursday about a series of listening events — and when it finally got streamed, he said his label dropped it without permission.
His “Voice Player” announcement comes in the wake of public outcry over Spotify, a streaming giant accused of spreading misinformation through its podcasts and most notably its star host Joe Rogan.
That controversy also sparked a long-dormant debate over the hegemony of streaming platforms and their business models that pay musicians a tiny fraction.
“Today, artists only get 12% of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from this oppressive system,” West wrote. “It’s time to take control and build our own.”
The new album, slated for release on February 22, comes as West has been posting a lot about his personal life and anxieties over his divorce from Kim Kardashian and raising their four children.
“GOD PLEASE BRING OUR FAMILY BACK TOGETHER,” he posted at one point.
He has also used his massive platform to target Pete Davidson, the 28-year-old comedian and actor Kardashian is dating.
He has deleted some of his posts, including a screenshot of a conversation with Kardashian, who texted the rapper that he is “creating a dangerous and scary environment”.
The artist, who has spoken candidly about his struggle with bipolar disorder, has been criticized for his social media antics and what many have called harassment of his ex.