How Did Jay-Z And Kanye Keep The Biggest Album Of The Year From Leaking?

Kanye and Jay-Z, rap's Zeus and Athena, have finally released their buzz-flinging collaboration, Watch the Throne. And it's pretty good! But more impressively, unlike virtually every single album ever these days, it didn't leak online first. How'd they do that?

By exploiting tech to the fullest — both ignoring and embracing it to their advantage, XXL reports. The news that Watch the Throne would debut on iTunes weeks before smaller (physical) outlets pissed off these smaller (physical) outlets. They were getting snubbed on one of the most hyped musical releases in quite some time. But everyone knows that CDs are the reason albums leak online — the process of stamping and shipping out the discs provides an ocean of time for unscrupulous employees to pilfer and rip unreleased music.

So screw discs, said Ye and Jay. Eschewing CDs for AACs might have angered the retail establishment, but it guaranteed their full control over the music. Nobody had access to those files but them, and because they recorded the entire thing together in person, no verses or beats were ever exchanged via email, making hacking or any other online interception out of the question. And we know Kanye doesn't take kindly to hackers, after he flipped out when an unfinished track of his was put online last fall. Whether it was resultant paranoia, or just a new indifference toward physical media (Jay-Z would be shrewd enough for this!), Watch the Throne beat the hackers. Now all they have to worry about is the reviews. [XXL via NY Mag]

Photo: Daniel Boczarski/Getty

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