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.
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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 Credit: Keilen Photography