Updated:
Original:

Run The Jewels Released 'RTJ3' For Free, Still Sold 22k Copies

If the music's good enough, fans will pay for it even when it's also available for free.
DJBooth_logo2x

Run The Jewels decided to release their outstanding new album RTJ3 on Christmas Eve, nearly three full weeks before its originally scheduled due date, but their decision to call an audible has paid off big time.

Despite making the album available for free download, El-P and Killer Mike managed to sell 22k copies of RTJ3 in the first week.

As El-P noted in the above tweet, the 22k sales were all through digital retailers—the physical version isn't slated for release until January 13—and, unlike their two previous albums, RTJ3 was released completely independent of any record label.

RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

Joony---world-ah-16x9-1

Joony Refuses to Be Complacent

Maryland native Joony is an unstoppable force in hip-hop. He breaks down his journey for Audiomack World.

BOTWWorld151--1-

Tems, Mozzy & Pa Salieu: Best of the Week

Tems, Mozzy, Pa Salieu, and more all had the best new songs on Audiomack this week.

am-world-roundup-16x9-917

5 New Albums You Need to Hear This Week

Lil Nas X, Tems, Tion Wayne, Injury Reserve, and Unusual Demont all have albums you need this week on Audiomack.

By comparison, RTJ3 saw a 10k unit increase in first week sales over 2014's RTJ2, which moved 12k total units. Taking into account the fact that El-P and Mike don't have to split any revenue earned through the digital sales with a record label, it goes without saying that their decision to operate independent of a label this time around was a wise decision.

More importantly, however, the success of RTJ3 speaks to the fan loyalty El-P and Mike have built over the past four years through tireless work and an acclaimed output. When an album that was made available for free download is legally purchased 22,000 times in seven days, the music must be pretty damn good.

***

By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.

Photo CreditKeilen Photography

Related

DJBooth_logo2x

Run the Jewels Want to Drop "RTJ3" This Year, Get F*cking Hyped

Killer Mike says the best duo in rap are working on what will (hopefully) be one of the best rap albums of 2016.

DJBooth_logo2x

Run The Jewels Announce 2017 'Run The World Tour', Get Excited

The two-man supergroup will kick off the new year with a world tour in support of their upcoming 'RTJ3' album.

DJBooth_logo2x

El-P's Perfect Response to an iTunes Comment About RTJ Releasing Free Music

"I know we give it away for free but there really is no reason to feel compelled to command that people not support us if they want to."

DJBooth_logo2x

Run The Jewels 'Run The Jewels 3' 1 Listen Album Review

This is the music that makes you want to fight in a bar, riot in the streets, challenge the establishment, and behead your oppressor.

DJBooth_logo2x

The Improbable Story of How Trackstar Became Run The Jewels' DJ

"I can throw your soda cans away, roll your blunts for you, whatever."