On Christmas Eve, Run The Jewels surprised fans by releasing their new RTJ3 album three weeks early.
While the album was made available for digital purchase on iTunes, as well as for stream on Spotify and Apple Music, El-P and Killer Mike also gifted the album to fans—as they did with their debut and RTJ2—in the form of a free download on their website.
After reading an iTunes account holder comment, "Run The Jewels is giving this album away on their twitter and for free! Don't waste your money on a same quality digital download!" El-P took to Twitter on Monday to discuss RTJ's dual release strategy.
First of all, can we all agree that the man or woman who left that comment on iTunes is a total asshole? Just because the album was made available for free download doesn't mean anyone should try to convince others not to show support in the form of a digital purchase.
And it looks like El-P agrees:
El-P later added, "I'm not saying that model is for everyone, but for us its how we like it," and he's absolutely right.
Unlike many of their peers, Run The Jewels are both the artist and the label. This essentially allows the duo to do whatever they want as it pertains to the release and rollout of an album.
On top of giving away the album free of cost, which is not something any record label under the sun would be comfortable with, RTJ also unleashed the project on a Saturday night over a holiday weekend after all of the Best of 2016 year-end lists were published, which, again, isn't something any record label would ever green light.
Unlike many of their peers, El-P and Mike understand the inherent value in giving away music for free. When an artist makes their product available to the masses without a financial barrier, it both increases the likelihood that their music will spread further and it builds loyalty among fans.
Obviously, the music has to be excellent for this strategy to truly work, but once you build a dedicated army of supporters who will do anything to show support, you can do anything. Like, for instance, tour the globe or create an album entirely based around cat sounds.
So if you're feeling generous and supportive this holiday season, we recommend scooping up a copy of RTJ3. It's excellent and, despite the free option, El-P and Mike do appreciate your support.
By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.
Photo Credit: Instagram