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Kanye West says he sold more than $2 million worth of Donda 2 players in 24 hours

By | Published on Monday 21 February 2022

Kanye West Stem Player

Since announcing that his new album ‘Donda 2’ will only be available via his own Stem Player, Kanye West reckons that he’s sold more than $2 million worth of the devices.

Initially that sounds like quite a lot of money. Though that’s equates to sales of around 8000 devices. Which means only a relatively small number of fans are willing to fork out $200/£200 to hear the new record in the days or more likely hours (minutes?) before it hits piracy sites.

West announced last week that his new album – due out tomorrow – will only be available via the physical device he launched last August, which allows users to play back and remix his music.

“’Donda 2’ will only be available on my own platform, the Stem Player. Not on Apple, Amazon, Spotify or YouTube”, he wrote on Instagram on Friday, before setting out the rationale for that decision: “Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from this oppressive system. It’s time to take control and build our own”.

Of course, even with all the recent Spotify dissing, it seems unlikely that any new artist-led movement will be able to sustain everyone releasing albums on devices that cost $200 a pop, but I guess that’s not the point. On Saturday, in a subsequently deleted post, West announced that he’d “made $2,227,012.05 in 24 hours” from over 8000 Stem Player sales.

Not everyone is happy about this particular plan, though. On Friday evening, DJ Akademiks claimed on Twitter that Apple had pulled out of a “$2 million+” sponsorship deal with West following his announcement that he’ll be holding his new record back from all the streaming services. The company was apparently on board to livestream this week’s ‘Donda 2’ launch party.

In another deleted Instagram post, West posted a screengrab of a text message apparently confirming that Apple had indeed pulled out of a sponsorship deal. Although in West’s version of events it was a $100 million deal. Either way, he’s looking out of pocket.

The question is, will essentially selling a $200 album to a handful of superfans – leaving everyone else to download or stream it from illegal services – ultimately score him more than he would have made from putting that album up on legit streaming services?

And – assuming he does ultimately put the record onto all the streaming platforms – will those who have just bought a Stem player be as pissed off as those who signed up to Tidal to listen to the rapper’s ‘Life Of Pablo’ album after being told it would “never, never, never” be available anywhere else? Until, of course, it was.