Independent record stores protest Jay-Z and Kanye's album-release shutout | EW.com

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Independent record stores protest Jay-Z and Kanye's album-release shutout

Watch The Throne

The roll-out of Jay-Z and Kanye West’s collab album Watch the Throne is threefold: On Aug. 8, both standard and deluxe versions hit iTunes digitally. Next comes the standard physical version (CD and albums), which gets to formal stores Aug. 12. Best Buy, however, will have the deluxe version exclusively. Then on Aug. 22 it’s out everywhere else.

It’s the second and third part that has indie record store owners up in arms. Peeved that Best Buy will be the only place to buy the Throne CD, the Record Store Day folks sent an email out to their indie store brothers and sisters addressed to the rhymers. In it they call Jay and Kanye’s decision to give Best Buy a deluxe head start a “short-sighted strategy, and that your decisions will be doing great damage to over 1,700 independent record stores —stores that have supported you and your music for years.”

(Though they do ask nicely: the letter also says “We know that you are busy, and that you put most of your energies into creating great music, but we are writing to you in the hope that you will hear us and take the time to rectify this matter.”)

The deluxe version of Throne features an additional four tracks—ones that the kind of music fanatics who frequent indie joints for music will want. They’ll likely have to take their dollars to the mainstream giant to get all 16 songs.

It’s definitely not fair. But as they say, business is business. Allowing the indies to sell the deluxe on Aug. 12 is probably the “right” thing to do. Really though, it’s the artists’ album. And if they want to keep it away from the little guys (as bad as that sounds), it’s their prerogative.

Sound off and check out the full letter (and the growing number of signatures supporting it) after the jump.

Dear Jay-Z and Kanye West,

Independent record stores serve our communities. Our passion is music, and
we convey this to the millions of customers who come to our stores. That’s
what we do.

Four years ago independent music stores across the country banded together
to create Record Store Day. Our goal was to counter the negative media
coverage about the supposed demise of record stores brought on by the
closing of the Tower stores and to respond to the music business practices
that fans deemed to be manipulative and onerous.

We reached out to the artist community to see if they would join us, and the
response was overwhelming with words of support coming in from Paul
McCartney, Erykah Badu, Tom Waits, Chuck D, the Foo Fighters and countless
others. Working with their label partners, many of these musicians created
limited edition works of art, including vinyl and CDs made especially for
music specialty retail. Hundreds of these artists took the opportunity to
perform, DJ, and interact with their fans in our record stores. Here in the
US, Record Store Day lifted the entire music business by 8% and contributed
to the growth in music sales. Record Store Day is now one of the biggest
music events in history with millions of people participating worldwide. We
also continue to work throughout the year with labels, artists and managers
and run regular promotions via physical independent retail and
recordstoreday.com.

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 – stores that have
supported you and your music for years.

We know that you are busy, and that you put most of your energies into
creating great music, but we are writing to you in the hope that you will
hear us and take the time to rectify this matter. 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.

With the utmost respect,

Dedry Jones, The Music Experience
Mike Dreese, Newbury Comics
Judy Negley, Independent Records
Mike Batt, Silver Platters
Tobago Benito, DBS Sounds
Brian Faber, Zia Records
Karen Pearson, Amoeba Music
Bryan Burkert, The Sound Garden
Mike Wise, Monster
Rob Roth, Vintage Vinyl
Joe Nardone, Jr., Gallery of Sound
Jonathan Fernandez, Rasputin Music
Dilyn Radakovitz, Dimple Records
Dustin Hansen, Graywhale Entertainment
Bill Kennedy, BK Music
Jim Bland, Plan Nine
Steve Wilson, Kiefs
Tom King, Central Square Records
Alayna Hill Alderman, Richard Storms, Record Archive
Karl Groeger, Looney Tunes
Paul Epstein, Twist and Shout
Nancy Salzer, Salzer’s Records
Rick Ziegler, Indy CD
Laura, Finders Records
Deon Borchard, Nic Fritze, The Long Ear
Chuck Oken, Rhino /Mad Platter
Allan Miller, John Bevis, Disc Exchange
Charlotte Kubat, Magnolia Thunderpussy
John Kunz, Waterloo Records
Chris Avino, Rainbow Records
Mike Fratt, Homers
Rich Koch, Off the Record
Skip Hermans, Skip’s Record and CD World
Jason Patton, Oz Music
Quinn Bishop, Cactus Records
John Timmons, ear X tacy
Lou Russell, Lou’s Records
Roger Weiss, Streetlight Records
Terry Currier, Music Millenium
Andrew Chinnici, Lakeshore Record Exchange
Michael Bunnell, The Record Exchange
Mike White, Boo Boo Records
Steve Baron, CD Central
Eric Levin, Criminal Records
Pat O’connor, Culture Clash
Dan Plunkett, End Of An Ear
Paula Kret, Exile On Main St
Chris Penn, Good Records
Doyle Davis, Grimey’s
Travis Searle, Guestroom Records
Jim Mcguinn, Hot Poop
Isaac Slusarenko, Jackpot Records
Jason Nickey & Heath Byers, Landlocked Music
Todd Robinson, Luna Music
Darren & Jim Blase, Shake It
Anna & Chris Brozek, Slowtrain
Kimber Lanning, Stinkweeds
Tom “Papa” Ray, Vintage Vinyl

Read more:
Kanye West and Jay-Z unveil regal raps on soulful single ‘Otis’
Jay-Z previews collab with Kanye West, ‘Watch the Throne’: On the scene at the NYC listening session

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