Trying to keep up with the near daily storms of stream-of-consciousness tweets from Kanye West has become a full-time job in and of itself. However, a few dispatches caught our attention early Monday.
In a string of messages that ended with hashtag “all positive vibes” (three pound signs were added, we suppose, for extra emphasis), West offered a semi-startling revelation: He was done with compact discs.
“I was thinking about not making CDs ever again... Only streaming,” he wrote.
West went on to say his 2013 album, “Yeezus,” was an “open casket to CDs.” The rapper famously released the disc without any artwork and the packaging only consisted of a clear jewel case with only a strip of red tape and the album’s sample credits listed behind the disc.
Certainly compact discs are seen by many as an outdated source. Carmakers have started phasing CD players out of new models as digital downloads and streams have outpaced sales of discs. Starbucks stopped selling CDs last year, and even though big-box stores such as Best Buy, Walmart and Target haven't ditched them yet, the aisle real estate given to music (and DVDs for that matter) has noticeably shrunk over the last couple of years.
Artists have shifted, too. Acts such as Beyonce, Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Future and countless others have rolled out digital-first album releases. Sometimes the projects were later pressed to compact discs -- and sometimes not.
Regardless of whether West sticks to the promise, his proclamation has only made us wonder when, if ever, his latest album, “The Life of Pablo,” will be officially released.
In the weeks since West previewed “The Life of Pablo” in a splashy yet chaotic listening party/fashion show for a sold-out crowd at New York's Madison Square Garden, the album has remained a key topic in the pop music conversation despite not being on sale yet.
As of now, an unfinished version of the 18-track album is streaming on Tidal. West has said he never intends to release the album to Apple, although there was a New York Times report that talks were ongoing about a deluxe physical release of the record that now seems unlikely given West’s latest tweet blast.
Regardless of how the album is finally released, more than 500,000 people have already downloaded pirated versions of "The Life of Pablo" since it popped up on Tidal, according to TorrentFreak.com. Even if West has declared the CD dead, piracy will continue to live on.
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