Days after the release of his latest album, Kanye West is still dominating headlines — but maybe not for the reasons you’d expect. Yes, The Life of Pablo has been receiving plenty of praise from music critics and fans of Kanye’s specific brand of rap, but making the album exclusive to Tidal has also fueled a remarkable amount of piracy.
The Twitter storm from Kanye surrounding the album’s release has included a plea to Mark Zuckerberg for $1 billion, endless praise for shoe company Adidas and comparisons to Michael Jordan, Steph Curry and LeBron James. But one tweet stands out among the rest and might be to blame for rampant piracy of the new album:
Tidal may have temporarily jumped to the top of the free app charts on the App Store, but that doesn’t necessarily reflect the number of subscriptions the service has seen since Kanye’s album released.
In fact, some outlets are going so far as to say that the exclusivity of such a highly anticipated album could kill the service altogether.
TorrentFreak has been keeping track of illegal downloads ever since the album made its way to torrent sites around the internet, and on the first day alone The Life of Pablo has been downloaded over 500,000 times. It’s far and away the most shared music torrent on The Pirate Bay, and dozens of other direct download sites and music sharing forums have put up links to the album as well.
As TorrentFreak notes, an album with this big of a profile was always going to see massive piracy numbers, but if Kanye fans had the opportunity to stream the album on Spotify or download it on iTunes, it might not be quite so bad.