Kanye West's Tidal-exclusive album launch leads to mass piracy

By Scorpus · 74 replies
Feb 17, 2016
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  1. In what shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, the launch of Kanye West's latest album, The Life of Pablo, exclusively through music streaming service Tidal has lead to a massive wave of piracy.

    TorrentFreak is reporting that The Life of Pablo has already been illegally downloaded more than 500,000 times on just the first day after its launch. On various popular torrent sites around the web, the album is topping the list of music torrents by a significant margin, with more than 10,000 people sharing the most popular version at any one time.

    While many highly anticipated albums typically get pirated in large numbers shortly after their release, TorrentFreak says that they haven't seen this level of piracy for a single album before.

    The reason why so many people are pirating Kanye's latest album is simple: the limited release is preventing fans from purchasing and listening to it in the way they want to. With most other album launches, people can either purchase physical or digital copies of the album, or stream it through other services like Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play, but with The Life of Pablo this isn't possible.

    Kanye's decision to release his latest album exclusively through a relatively unpopular streaming service doesn't seem to be paying off. Even if Tidal manages to sign up many new subscribers through this exclusive, it's unclear whether users will stay around longer than the 30 day free trial, especially if Kanye changes his mind and releases the album through more services.

    For now, at least, Kanye is sticking to his guns. His latest tweets have indicated that The Life of Pablo will "never never never be on Apple" and that it "will never be for sale" either. In that case, he shouldn't be surprised if widespread piracy of his work continues.

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  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 8,647   +3,274

    Kanye? What kind of funny name is that? With a name like that, I don't think I'd take the least bit of interest in pirating anything of his. I read/heard somewhere he was a (c)rapper so that makes it doubly so.
    SalaSSin likes this.
  3. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,685   +1,084

    My reaction is more on the fact that people are pirating it.
    Maybe he's paying people to pirate it. XD
    NimbusTLD likes this.
  4. asclepius

    asclepius TS Rookie

    "In that case, he shouldn't be surprised if widespread piracy of his work continues."

    Why? Whatever kind of man kanye may be, nothing gives people the right to steal the fruits of his labour. No one is forcing these pathetic 'fans' to listen to the album (and might I add that it's available to stream for free on his website); I think it's shameful that these people defend their actions so.
    SikSlayer likes this.
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,739   +3,757

    Kanye West - from self-proclaimed king to internet beggar with $50m+ of debt in... well, however many years that took.
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,739   +3,757

    Music piracy isn't theft. Unethical, but not theft.
    thelatestmodel and SalaSSin like this.
  7. asclepius

    asclepius TS Rookie

    Not that want to become involved in this age old argument again, but I fail to see why it wouldn't be theft. The artist is losing out on potential royalty fees through unauthorised dissemination of his intellectual property, which is neither ethical nor legal.
    SikSlayer, hahahanoobs and Reehahs like this.
  8. Greg S

    Greg S TechSpot Staff Posts: 1,073   +428

    The argument is that a lot of Pirates wouldn't buy the work anyways, therefore the artist lost nothing
    SalaSSin, wastedkill and agb81 like this.
  9. robb213

    robb213 TS Maniac Posts: 330   +100

    Because it's still the inevitable consequence of signing exclusivity deals and making it difficult or impossible to buy said product. I'm sure a decent amount of these people live in regions that this service isn't accessible either (not that I'm defending them or applauding them). So it doesn't take an expert to predict this.

    I have to wonder how much they paid Kanye to sign on with them for him to not care much about the piracy of his album though.
  10. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,188   +470

    That is a specious argument. It is stolen nonetheless.
    mojorisin23 and hahahanoobs like this.
  11. I agree that it is unethical, but if it is available for streaming on his website for FREE then how does he lose anything by its distribution. On the upside he is getting a huge amount of free publicity, on the downside possibly he is losing ad revenue from his site, or the site that sells the download (can't say, have never been to these sites, don't plan on it either)
  12. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,718   +860

    That is nothing but a total cop-out crap argument by people who steal music, movies and games to "justify" their actions. What do you think the percentages are of people are who steal the item, then decide to buy that same item after they already have it? 1%? Less than 1%?
    Nefertiti likes this.
  13. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    Amazing, so your saying because I would never in a million years buy a Volkswagen that I could just go on to the lot and take one to drive around and that would be justifiable? Your ridiculous, nothing more I can say about your logic towards piracy...

    Funny, the copyright holders would see this differently, as will the judge ruling against you in a court of law, but that's not important, you see it only to be a problem with ethics.

    Although I am not a supporter of Kanye West, actually that makes this even easier, what a fool for trying to use a single method of distribution for his "content", I refuse to call it music, and despite his fans being of questionable taste and potentially intelligence they have still managed to master the art of piracy to get a hold of this "album" for free. Which I'm equally impressed as I am disappointing someone would go through the trouble in the first place. Yet it's still illegal to do so, regardless of who made the digital content. It just goes to show you his "content" isn't even worth paying for by those who enjoy it, now that's funny.

    Can people stop pretending not to know who Kanye West is, it's already getting old. The man had enough notoriety to have a South Park episode devoted to bashing him, if you haven't watched it I would suggest doing so for a laugh.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
    SirGCal, hahahanoobs and RebelFlag like this.
  14. Since I don't know who this guy is, I consulted the Oracle (Google search engine) and did some reading.

    From Forbes 16 Feb 2016 (Kelly Phillips Erb article), "Kanye West did what Kanye West does best....he had people talking about him. This time, however, it wasn’t about his music but about his money. In a series of bizarre tweets, West asked Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg for “help.” The rapper and fashion designer claims to be $53 million in debt, citing struggles to make his music and fund his clothing line as reasons for his money woes. Apparently, the $500 haircuts and a $3 million engagement ring had nothing to do with it."
    As if that wasn't enough, a GoFundMe campaign was launched to help raise the $53 Million for him (the amount raised as of 16 Feb 2016 is $289).
    And as far as "The argument is that a lot of Pirates wouldn't buy the work anyways, therefore the artist lost nothing" countered with "That is nothing but a total cop-out crap argument by people who steal music, movies and games to "justify" their actions. What do you think the percentages are of people are who steal the item, then decide to buy that same item after they already have it? 1%? Less than 1%?" AFAIK there are no facts to prove either assumption so why even bother arguing (especially with the vitriol many in this argument display)
    Edit: does the analogy of a 'test drive' work here?
    I seriously wonder if this man could live without the publicity, in anonymity.
    H3llion likes this.
  15. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,379   +286

    While some of the beats on this Album are good, it's still Kanye.

    RIP Old School Hip Hop and RAP :(
    (good one (c)rapper such jokes much open mind)
  16. Jack007

    Jack007 TS Booster Posts: 181   +42

    In my country we get everything for free. Movies, music, software, porn. Almost everything that runs here is torrented and gotten for free any way you take it. Digital rights dont have value here. So nowadays its hard to not get something for free when soo many others are doing the same thing
  17. Sniped_Ash

    Sniped_Ash TS Maniac Posts: 253   +108

    I can't fault people for pirating this. Streaming-only music sucks.

    I doubted that Kanye really was in debt, but choosing to put his album on a podunk streaming service instead of selling it through Apple or Amazon or whatever sounds like a real dumb business decision so maybe he is.
  18. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,046   +680

    Kanye albums aren't known for their "beats". He's actually incredibly talented - lyrically.
  19. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,739   +3,757

    It's very simple. A theft requires something be taken from someone.

    If someone steals a physical copy of music, it is theft. There is actual property loss. If someone copies it and gives that copy to a stranger, by definition, it isn't theft–it is copyright infringement. Legally, that is a licensing violation.

    The idea that this is somehow theft is retarded. First, it assumes that if a copyrighted work is illegally downloaded that it would have otherwise been legitimately purchased. Second, it creates the absurd scenario wherein burning a playlist of music for a friend who does not own the tracks makes you both thieves.

    I once recorded a CD featuring a copyrighted piano piece by Chick Corea ("No Mystery"). This may have been done in violation of copyright laws, as I recorded and burned the piece to CD and distributed it to an individual for personal, non-financial gain. I did not compensate Chick Corea, Polydor Records, or instruct the recipient of said CD to buy the track.

    Is that theft?

    If it isn't theft, how is downloading a music file theft when the end result is exactly the same?
    Evernessince and Raoul Duke like this.
  20. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,739   +3,757

    Try again.

  21. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,829   +634

    Well yes, by infringing on the copyright holders rights and obtaining his intellectual property without permission your essentially taking away potential profit, you go on about this in your next sentence even.

    Which is defined as Criminal Copyright Law in the United states, "Criminal penalties, in general, require that the offender knew that he or she was committing a crime" The old "I didn't know I was doing anything wrong" shouldn't be an acceptable excuse anymore for this.

    Your First statement is a little absurd, your suggesting that if the digital media I want is not available for purchase where I live that it automatically makes it legal to pirate? I'm not 100% if that's where you stand with that but it's what I make of it.

    For your Second statement, no, not thieves, just that your copyright infringing, this still falls in to the criminal code seeing as how you intentionally copied the music.

    Again, it's technically not theft, read for yourself bellow, try to understand that just because your not using the word theft to describe piracy, rightfully so, it's still an illegal act which can result in fines more than jail time. Albeit some have faced jail time but those are usually specific cases, for example the owners of the file sharing site that promote piracy. The law is the law, unfortunately at times, and if your breaking it, well good luck to you, just stop assuming that because piracy is not exactly the same thing as theft that it shouldn't be illegal.

    I'm not a lawyer, but think I have a good understanding of the laws, more so those that I break from time to time.

    "The terms piracy and theft are often associated with copyright infringement. The original meaning of piracy is "robbery or illegal violence at sea", but the term has been in use for centuries as a synonym for acts of copyright infringement. Theft, meanwhile, emphasizes the potential commercial harm of infringement to copyright holders. However, copyright is a type of intellectual property, an area of law distinct from that which covers robbery or theft, offenses related only to tangible property. Not all copyright infringement results in commercial loss, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1985 that infringement does not easily equate with theft."
  22. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Grand Inquisitor Posts: 4,739   +3,757

    Re-read my original comment. I didn't say piracy was "legitimate" or legal. I said that it isn't theft and that it's unethical, nothing more.

    The material you are quoting explains just that.
  23. dirtyferret

    dirtyferret TS Guru Posts: 360   +377

    I could care less about Kayne but known copyright infringement is done by scumbags. I have no respect for pirates.
  24. Silvernine

    Silvernine TS Member Posts: 23   +17

    No matter how many times I read davislane1's comments, all I see is the same thing that was said over and over. Piracy is not "theft" BUT it is a crime. He/she agree that it's a crime because it's a licence violation/copyright infringement. So the entire time, Adhmuz, you're just simply arguing with the wrong person.
    davislane1 likes this.
  25. Sorry to bust your bubble, but I really did not know who this guy is. So saying I'm pretending is essentially a kinder way of saying I am lying.

    I choose not to watch TV, I choose not to have a radio in my home, nor do I drive, and if in a car I ask if they can turn the radio off. I only have my computer and the internet. I buy no newspapers, visit no news websites, just Techspot, Cyclingnews, VeloNews (plus stuff like weather and shopping) subscribe to Netflix and MotoGp. I have never liked rap (except in the 70's when it originated), no one I know does either. I avoid the TV on Netflix as well, so I have never watched a single episode of South Park either. YouTube is great for the European bicycle races and cyclocross, even if sometimes they are not in my language

    If it helps you to understand this lifestyle evolved because I am a veteran with some problems that the bad news and the propaganda (mainly advertising although a subtler form is in the content itself) exacerbates, so I started by cutting news off. It progressed from there. You cannot fail to hear about events such as elections etc, then I do online research. I'm not on Facebook or Twitter or on any other site than this one.

    I found when I cut all that stuff out, not only did I feel better, but I had a lot more time for the things I really like. I do understand this lifestyle is pretty foreign to most folks.
    Nefertiti likes this.

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