July 29th, 2011 by Navjosh
“We believe fans should have the option to buy the same music at their preferred retailer, on the same date, and unfortunately that is not always the case.”
– Craig Pape, director of Amazon Music.
Kanye, Jay-Z & the labels’ decision to sell exclusive versions of their Watch The Throne album to iTunes and BestBuy has not gone well with rest of the music retailers. As you may know by now, iTunes will be the first store to sell the album August 8th onwards with ‘Otis’ already available as an exclusive download for customers who pre-order.
In addition to this, fans can buy an exclusive Deluxe edition CD from BestBuy from August 12th till 23rd for a price of $12.40. But other music retailers, specially the independent stores are protesting the plan calling it a “short-sighted strategy”. To bring the issue to the table, the community has penned an open letter to Jay-Z and Kanye highlighting the problem. Read the same after the jump.
Dear Jay-Z and Kanye West,
Independent record stores serve our communities. Our passion is music, and we convey this to the millions of customers who come to our stores. That’s what we do.
Four years ago independent music stores across the country banded together to create Record Store Day. Our goal was to counter the negative media coverage about the supposed demise of record stores brought on by the closing of the Tower stores and to respond to the music business practices that fans deemed to be manipulative and onerous.
We reached out to the artist community to see if they would join us, and the response was overwhelming, with words of support coming in from Paul McCartney, Erykah Badu, Tom Waits, Chuck D, the Foo Fighters and countless others. Working with their label partners, many of these musicians created limited edition works of art, including vinyl and CDs made especially for music-specialty retail. Hundreds of these artists took the opportunity to perform, DJ, and interact with their fans in our record stores. Here in the U.S., Record Store Day lifted the entire music business by 8% and contributed to the growth in music sales. Record Store Day is now one of the biggest music events in history, with millions of people participating worldwide. We also continue to work throughout the year with labels, artists and managers and run regular promotions via physical independent retail and recordstoreday.com.
We are responding to the bad news that your new album will not be available to independent record stores until after iTunes gets a window of exclusivity. We also learned that the deluxe version (which is what the true music fans who shop our stores will want, by an overwhelming majority) will only be available at Best Buy exclusively for a period of time. We believe this is a short-sighted strategy, and that your decisions will be doing great damage to over 1,700 independent record stores — stores that have supported you and your music for years.
We know that you are busy, and that you put most of your energies into creating great music, but we are writing to you in the hope that you will hear us and take the time to rectify this matter. As representatives of the independent record store music community, we are asking you to allow record stores and music fans equal access to your new album.
With the utmost respect.