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Kanye West Slams Streaming Services: ‘Songwriters Have Been Really Hurt’

Hours after Kanye West announced that Donda 2 will only be available to stream on his Stem Player, the rapper revealed that he has sold over 6,200 devices — good for $1.3 million — in the past 24 hours. Along with sharing the sales data, he leveled some sharp criticism at the streaming services as he explained why his upcoming album won’t be available there upon its 2.22.22 arrival.

In an Instagram post that accompanied the Stem Player sales figures — including $8.6 million in total sales since the $200 device was released in Aug. 2021 for Donda — West wrote, “I walked away from Apple right after having the most number 1’s in Apple history. Song Writers have been really hurt by streaming platforms.”

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West continued, “Some say I’m the only one who can make this change. So as the leading innovator in music of the past 20 years. I’m putting my own work on the line to change it. I’ve already won by not being afraid to move. Now we’re winning because there are true supporters that have invested their hard earned money in my vision of freedom.” (In a statement on Friday, distributor and payment platform Stem clarified that while they “agree artists should get paid more,” there is no affiliation between the company and the Stem Player promoted by West.)

In a follow-up Instagram post, West shared a screengrab of a text message informing him that “Apple is no longer doing the sponsorship deal.” At a Jeen-Yuhs screening last weekend, West claimed that Apple exec Larry Jackson offered him $100 million to release Donda on Apple Music, “but I never got a meeting with Tim Cook,” West said. “So, it ain’t about the money. It’s about our power and our respect collectively.”

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“God has a plan,” Ye added Friday. “New frontier. Everyone that is supporting our revolution is changing the game for all artist. We no longer have to bow to people who don’t even truly care about music.”

If West stays true to his word and Donda 2 is a Stem Player exclusive, as of Friday and based on the sales figures, roughly 40,000 people will be able to hear the LP when it drops. The rapper has not yet announced whether the 22-track album will be released to the public in physical form.

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