The Life of Pablo has been downloaded over 500,000 times since its release on February 14, according to TorrentFreak. What does that mean? That means half a million people looked at that free sample subscription to Tidal and said "nah." They saw a "sign up for free" label and then looked at their old copy of Utorrent that probably gave them a virus three years ago and thought piracy was the better plan.
The Pirate Bay, one of TorrentFreak's primary data points, doesn't show the precise number of downloads, but it does show that nearly 10,000 users are seeding T.L.O.P. right now. That's three times more seeders than the next closest album (Rihanna's ANTI). It's killing in private circles too. On one site it had twice as many seeders as the next closest album (Adele's 25) and had just under 2000 fewer downloads despite being online for two days rather than three months.
The old adage is that media piracy is all about filling the gaps. Your average cheap-as-hell consumer has needs, and piracy provides. Piracy lets people sidestep expensive movie tickets, pricey DVR fees and draconian DRM in their video games. And now, piracy is letting them sidestep a couple of free months of Tidal and the risk of forgetting to cancel the free trial before their credit card gets charged.
Maybe they're downloading it because Kanye insists it will never see the iTunes Music store. These half a million pirates — a number that continues to grow — are just thinking about that future date when they will have to pay for Tidal to get the tunes, and being proactive. Or maybe they just couldn't be bothered to click the "accept" button.
Regardless, it's not looking good for Kanye right now. He can't save Tidal. He can't stop piracy. He's 53 million dollars in debt. And he mixed T.L.O.P. in like a week, and so it sounds like a hot pile of arse leaking into your ear.
At least he has that cool shirt with his mum's face on it.