Back in November of last year, I went to a Hackers-themed Rave/Dance party. While I was waiting on line for the party to open, a guy gave me a free cassette with his music. That’s fine and all, and I appreciate free stuff, but the only way to get a digital copy of his music is to record it from a tape onto a computer. That wouldn’t be so much a problem, but why make the music listener jump through hoops just so they can listen to it in their preferred format? Besides, I don’t have one of those converters and it would be easier just to give me a digital downloadable copy.
…Which brings us to Kanye West. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who hate Kanye for whatever reason. He has his flaws, but I find his rapping and production to be eminently listenable (which is more I can say for Kendrick Lamar’s good kid, m.A.A.d city; Sorry, fans, but it’s not my cup of tea. I found Mr. Lamar’s whispering on that album painful to listen to). I really wanted to buy his new album. Unfortunately, Kanye made that so fucking hard to do. Like the aforementioned Hackers-party-cassette-hocker, he made his album limited in terms of format and convenience: he basically forced potential customers who wanted to get downloads of his new album to go to torrents, because that was the only way they were available, short of converting the Tidal streams themselves. Granted, it is Kanye’s music (or rather his label’s music) and he (or his label) can sell it wherever and however they damn well please. It’s just that it’s extremely idiotic in 2016 to limit options for your customers if you want them to pay for it, because if you do, you’re basically asking them to pirate your works and you have nobody to blame but yourself. I say this as an artist: if you don’t want people to pirate your stuff, make it available for purchase.