In the ever-changing digital space, the endless debate over whether or not music albums leaking online helps or hurts record labels remains constant. We’ve examined the issue on BET Sound Off several times throughout the years. And while most are hard-pressed to find anyone neutral on the matter, Wheelchair Jimmy aka Drake seems to be that guy this week.
One of hip hop’s most anticipated albums has leaked a full week before it’s due to hit stores and iTunes. Take Care, the follow-up to Young Money/Cash Money artist Drake’s critically acclaimed album, Thank Me Later, is everywhere online. Sources close to the situation who I contacted expressed slight alarm due to the popularity of the Canadian-born actor-turned-rapper. But it seems Drizzy himself isn’t too pressed, as he took to his twitter page to express:
“I am not sure if the album leaked. But if it did thank god it doesn’t happen a month early anymore.
Listen, enjoy it, buy it if you like it…and take care until next time.”
A melancholy approach to the situation, the “Headlines” hit-maker isn’t new to giving his music away free to the fans. Back in May, the MC caused a sh*t storm with his record company by leaking “Dreams Money Can Buy,” from his forthcoming sophomore album. Besides offering a download link, the post contained this message: “A song that I felt the need to share. Not my single. Just a piece of my story. Hear me out though …” Reportedly, “Dreams Money Can Buy” is Take Care’s intro track. Drake’s blog post was accompanied by an image with text that reads, “This is a story of dreams mixed with reality.”
Considered an unconventional promotional tool, artists giving their music away to the fans that support them is a business calculation that simply won’t sit well with struggling music companies. Days after the self-imposed leak, Universal Music began targeting hip hop blogs around the world — and even went after 50 Cent’s This is 50.com. The attack was publicly denounced by most hip hop fans — and the artist himself. So while it’s no surprise Drake has taken a more laid-back approach to the leak, the impact the unauthorized action will have remains to be seen.
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