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Also this time Kanye West has seen it through

The choice to publish Donda 2 only on the Stem Player and the challenge to the industry

Also this time Kanye West has seen it through  The choice to publish Donda 2 only on the Stem Player and the challenge to the industry

The release of Donda 2, Kanye West's new album, is arguably one of the best Direct-To-Consumer strategies of recent times. Through Stem Player, the platform launched last August by Yeezy Tech and Kano Computing, Ye has earned more than $2 million in just 24 hours since the announcement. A move that stems from his break with the big music giants (Spotify, Apple etc..), where, according to Kanye, artists would earn "only 12%" of their music produced. West called it an "oppressive system" and one that is totally detrimental to artists, so much so that it led him to turn down a $100 million deal with Apple. The move of launching his Stem Player is not only a winning one on an economic level (100% of the revenue goes into his pocket), but it also allows him to create a community that is increasingly fascinated and linked to his name.

Although in the coming months Donda 2 could still see the light on streaming platforms, for the moment Kanye has based his entire strategy in a 100% internalized funnel. In this way he has managed to channel all those fans who, by listening to his new album, watching the parties for the album launch or buying his merchandise support the cause of their favorite artist. The aura that Kanye has formed around his person and his brand is a pure lesson in modern marketing in which the exclusive release of Donda 2 on Stem - remember that the device costs $200 - is the perfect example of what it means to do storytelling, today.

Whether it's on Instagram or off social platforms, Kanye West has never been afraid to be daring or make choices outside the norm, which are often difficult for even us viewers of his personal show to understand. For those who listen to music, those who have a subscription on Apple Music or Spotify, having a record available immediately after its release is now considered the norm, a practice that no one should ever take away from us. But is it fair? If an egomaniacal artist like West has chosen to go against the grain by depriving himself of likely streaming records or accolades, then the battle may be far deeper than our relationship with the smartphone and AirPods we use to listen to music. «Remember, you're not just spending $200 on a record,» Alex Klein, CEO of Kano, told GQ. «You're also spending it to become part of a community that wants to change technology and music for the better.»

Even the small size of the Stem has its reason. The Chicago rapper, together with Klein, has studied everything to make it an indispensable and convenient product for everyday life, like a cell phone. But one question becomes legitimate: do we really need another tech object to fight the monopoly of the music giants? The concept at the base of Donda 2's strategy sums up the creator economy where the ownership of one's own content is worth more than any economic return. And Kanye, for some time now also engaged in the battle to buy back part of his music catalog, is showing that he cannot be bound by any agreement. His creativity, musically and business-wise, is something that surprises us every day and always leaves a lesson to learn from. He may have factored in that his ratings will be reduced or that he won't be eligible for any awards, but he doesn't care that much. It's his ideology of independence and constant struggle that drives him in everything he does, for better or worse.

The release of his three-part "jeen-yush" documentary on Netflix probably comes at the right time to understand who Kanye West really is: an untamable, no-holds-barred visionary. Perhaps, again, this is a big bluff to get attention and then return to normal. In 2016, for the release of The Life Of Pablo, he said that he would "never, ever" release it on Apple, Spotify or other platforms outside of Tidal, which owned the exclusivity. On April 1 of that year, it was released there as well. Will the same be true for Donda 2?