Kanye West’s Album Didn’t Even Make the Charts

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Last week, DMN reported that Kanye West’s album, ‘The Life Of Pablo’, would only be available on Tidal.  Now, we’re seeing the consequences of that decision.

As part of a flashy launch, Westa publicly proclaimed that his album ‘The Life of Pablo’ would ”never never never be on Apple, and it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.”  Shortly after that proclamation, illegal swaps of ‘Pablo’ surged on torrent channels.  ”Over a half million people have downloaded a pirated copy of The Life of Pablo a day after its release,” torrent authority Torrentfreak reported.

Others were simply unaware of the release, or didn’t care.  Some fans rushed to Tidal to grab the exclusive, but most didn’t, especially those already committed to Apple Music or Spotify.

The results were actually great for Tidal: the service suddenly ranked number 1 on the iOS App Store for the first time ever.  For Kayne, it was a less beneficial deal: outside of possible upfront payments, limiting ‘Pablo’ to Tidal has crushed the success of this release.

It gets worse.  According to reports, Tidal is refusing to release streaming data to Nielsen Music, the company that measures music sales data.  That made it impossible for Kanye to rank anywhere on the charts, especially now that streams count towards positions.

Kanye may  be regretting his decision of sticking with Tidal and not broadening the albums release across the other streaming platforms for his fans. It will be interesting to see how he goes about releasing his next album.

Will Kanye be so loyal to next time around?


(Photo by Pieter-Jannick Dijkstra, Creative Commons, Attribution 2.0 Generic, cc by 2.0)

18 Responses

  1. Anonymous

    I am going to guess a lot of people are subscribing to a Tidal trial (hence the surge to being the most downloaded app) to listen to the album and will promptly cancel before it comes up for renewal. I can’t imagine many will stick around. Most of the people who are willing to listen to him on a streaming service probably already have a streaming service of their preference and statistics show that probably isn’t Tidal.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      The tricky question here is how many will stick around. Tidal has a lot of uniquely-curated content, particularly on the rap/r&b side, plus videos. Maybe the net is positive for Tidal.

      • Tone

        Exclusive content is def the name of the game these days (eg: Netflix, Amazon, etc). But yeah, the question is how many subscribers will stick around? Tidal might actually have a chance if enough high profile artists do exclusives through them. I hope that doesn’t happen though, as a I currently pay for and prefer Spotify.

  2. Vail, CO

    Strange that all the examples you mentioned are TV/video, not music. But we’re probably also looking at Kanye’s demise. Remember if someone like Taylor Swift or Adele had tried this, they’d still be charting.

      • [email protected]

        1. Humanity

        2. Maybe he would have charted if Tidal had allowed Neilsen access to the data.

        In this situation we don’t know if sales/whatevers would have amounted to charting. Maybe so/maybe not.

  3. Anonymous

    The album did chart. It was just so high up on the charts only god could see it.

  4. Music Specialist

    Are we looking at the demise of the Billboard / Nielsen charting system? I really don’t see what the charts ultimately create. having played the Billboard game for many years and charting singles, albums, videos and now Twitter Tweets (New emerging Artist Chart) I can’t see what good it is doing our company. Bragging rights don’t mean a thing against sales and sales is why I’m in the business. Kanye possibly doesn’t care about what the charts may say as long as his money and fame continue. I applaud Jay Z and the other Tidal stake holders for NOT sending any information on their streaming data to Nielsen. Why should they?

  5. I like Kim's sister!

    If Tidal’s end game is to sell it, Kanye just got a piece of the Tidal action so he’s set up to make more $ then if he got paid to put out a commercial record…and UMG just got f-d because this record won’t earn anything. The label keeps Kanye close to get all the other stars including J. One may wonder if he really is about artistry or just about attempting to grab headlines. I think a great debate (and great payout for both parties) would be Trump vs. West.

  6. West for prez..of a label, that is!

    I think Kayne is awesome! He’s brilliant!

    • Anonymous

      Brilliant? Maybe you and I have different ideas of what “brilliance” involves. I personally wouldn’t say Kanye, who had a net worth of 143M$ in 2013 but currently is in debt 53M$, would be considered brilliant. I would think a brilliant individual would either know how to handle their money or find a financial planner to handle my money. President of a music label? What business would trust their company to someone who blew threw 143M$ in less than 3 years to become millions of bucks in debt? Not one that I can think of! What a joke.

  7. Nicky Knight

    Boring and a publicity seeker.. self obsessed like all the celebrity bunch.. Tidal is so up itself it stinks… Apple iTunes and Apple Music is where most variety and choice is. A lot of artists and label music is only released on iTunes because labels can’t see the point of streaming when the revenue is so minuscule. iTunes is still where most artists, producers and labels make their living.