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Jay-Z’s “Watch the Throne” Totalitarian Listening Party

July 9, 2011

A handful of carefully selected music journalists were invited to the Mercer Hotel last night to participate in a private listening party hosted by rapper Jay-Z. Tracks from Hova’s ongoing project album with Kanye West, entitled Watch the Throne, were played for writers of prominent music news sites such as, Billboard, MTV and Fader.

Maybe it's Kanye's personality rubbing off on Jay, but I don't think the King of Rap would hold a doors-locked listening session for new material. Just blast that shit to the fans man. How does the delivery speed or method matter?

Upon arriving, journalists were given instructed not to use Twitter or any other outlet that would support major leakage of the album’s details. Additonally, a PR representative for the musician requested that writers not quote any verses from the songs.

So….what was the point of this listening party again?
Ultimately, one journalist from Fader was removed from the gathering for breaking the Twitter moratorium, prompting Fader representatives to remove all Tweets sent during the occasion and replace them with an impromptu and quite cheesy apology.

Leakage has become a natural element of today’s music industry. While some artists have fought resiliently against this inevitable landslide of information, others have embraced it, responding to leaks with early releases and a shoulder-shrugging attitude that recognizes that truest fact…music is music and it’s either good or it’s not.

One detail of the album’s construction, provided by Billboard’s quick note-taking journalists, was that Kanye and Jay recorded the album together in a single room, refusing to send materials to each other for fear of interception.

This is just the kind of constructive paranoia that garners a musical project more attention that the music ever could. While secrecy is fun for middle school playgrounds, it’s just not a realistic aspect of today’s music industry. People are going to share what they like, so why not encourage it?

What’s next Jay, musical propaganda?

Oh wait, that’s totally what rap and hip-hop are.



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