Kanye West (who now refers to himself as Ye) claimed in a media release (Saturday, February 19) that he had generated over $2 million in sales from his Stem Player device since Thursday (February 17).
Ye publicly confirmed on Thursday that his new album, Donda 2, would be released exclusively through his Stem Player. At launch, the album will not be available (legally) on any streaming platform.
The newly-released ‘Donda 2’, like his 2021 record ‘Donda,’ can only be heard through the £200 circular Stem Player gadget.
No Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music, or Amazon. It’s not even available on Jay-Tidal Z’s streaming service.
The small disc-shaped device is effectively a small MP3 player that breaks songs down into ‘stems’.
Using the touch-sensitive controls, listeners can alter the vocals, drums, and bass as well as isolate track parts and add effects.
The gadget itself was developed in partnership with Kano Computing, a hardware start-up company based in London.
According to West, there are 67,000 Stem Players available while another 3,000 units are being manufactured each day to keep up with demand.
According to West, the decision to build his own music platform is a chance to ‘free music from this oppressive system’.
The Stem Player ships with Donda, the sprawling 27-track record named after his late mother Donda West.
But with 8GB of storage onboard, owners are able to add more music to the device.
Looking a bit like a hockey puck, it’s coated in a soft-touch rubber and fits in the palm of your hand.
Despite this blockbuster success, Ye has decided to completely shun streaming platforms with Donda 2’s release – while being vocal about his opposition to music’s modern digital model.
“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.”