On the 17th of February Kanye West, announced that he would be exclusively releasing his now released album “Donda 2” on his Stem Player product.
The Stem Player is a device that allows consumers to isolate and manipulate the vocals and instrumentals from Artist’s songs. This unprecedented move by West was followed up with Ye going on a rant about how unfairly remunerated artists were from these Major Streaming platforms. Because of this, he stated that his music would no longer be submitted to these platforms.
Instead, “Donda 2” is being sold through the Stem Player device. His fans are only able to listen to the album if they purchase the player, which would give them access to the music and the ability to manipulate and play with the stems of the songs.
As unprecedented as this is, who better than a global icon such as Kanye West to challenge the powers that be? It is no secret that artists do not earn much money from the streams of their music. When one thinks of it, why is that the case, considering the number of millions these record companies and streaming platforms are pocketing because of their hard work?
Kanye is leading the way and establishing the framework for a possible alternative—allowing the Artist to have the blueprint for thinking differently and having complete control of the revenue from your work.
Essentially what needs to happen for this exercise to be successful is that your fan base needs to buy into what you’re trying to do wholeheartedly. For Kanye West, his fans have done just that. Two days post release, Kanye West managed to sell 10 000 plus of the Stem Players, making him $2 million-plus richer from this album.
It would take an artist a couple of billion streams to make that much money from their work, whereas he has managed to reach that amount in a couple of days. As much as this concept is perfect for the artist, it has its drawbacks that artists have to consider. Something like this does significantly shrink their reach as not every fan will afford to pay for a product like this; however, Ye’s way is not the only way to do this.
What is vital to take away from this is the notion that an artist’s work does not have to be in the hands of these streaming sites to get out there. You are better off building your fanbase and then finding a way to sell the music directly to them instead of putting it on streaming platforms if you are trying to make money from your music.
What is left to be done is for the next Artist to find a way to make this concept more accessible for a large group of fans. I pray that person is from Africa.