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.