The group of independent music retailers behind International Record Store Day have expressed their disappointment with plans to exclude record stores from the first few days of sale for the new release from Jay Z and Kanye West in an open letter.
Collaborating under the name The Throne the album titled Watch The Throne is being released on iTunes on August 8th, 4 days before the physical release on August 12th. And just for an extra kick in the guts, the deluxe CD edition is being sold exclusively through the website Best Buy for the first 10 days.
A long list of record stores from the states have signed the open letter, which you can read in full below. Personally I think the letter is rather polite where I probably would have ignored the sales embargo and put the stock on shelves as soon as it was delivered…
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 US, 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.