Sorry to say it, but it'll be a cold day in hell when the artist formally known as Kanye West isn't making headlines. We can only hope that the remainder of the year is free of abuse and harassment targeted at Kim Kardashian, Pete Davidson and whoever else ends up in the firing line.
Thankfully, the latest news coming from Camp West is strictly music-related, ahead of DONDA 2's imminent release.
When Ye took to his infamous Instagram page to announce that the album wouldn't be available on streaming platforms, instead; setting fans back a whopping $200 via the purchase of his Stem Player, it's fair to say that many got pretty riled up.
Technically, the announcement wasn't news, as the same product was promised back in the run-up to the first edition of DONDA.
The Bluetooth speaker made in partnership with Kano does promise plenty of features, such as four-channel audio mixing, real-time loop and speed control, and the ability to add effects – features that aren't and probably never will be available via mainstream streaming platforms.
This is where Apple (supposedly) loses the battle. We've seen platform exclusive or restricted albums come and go in the past, but if Kanye declining $100M to put DONDA 2 on Apple Music is true, then the streaming wars really could be hotting up again.
Despite the uproar from fans and declarations that The Life of Pablo formula of waiting for the album to leak will be followed, the Stem Player has supposedly surpassed $2M in sales, which shows extreme promise for the project.
By now, we all know that music streams equate to little in the way of financial gain for artists, making it likely that we'll see further innovations where ownership is concerned, moving forward.
In his own words, via IG, West wrote: "Today artists get just 12% of the money the industry makes. It’s time to free music from the oppressive system. It’s time to take control and build our own."
Perhaps this really is the beginning of a new form of relationship between recording artists and their fans – one that, despite its increased one-off cost for the consumer, removes the middle man.
Whether or not it'll succeed in its mission is yet to be seen. The Steam Player is available for purchase online now – roll on DONDA 2...