Indie Stores Pen Letter To Jay-Z & Kanye West Protesting Best Buy, iTunes Exclusives

Independent record stores write an open letter to Hov and Ye about iTunes and Best Buy getting a leg up in selling "Watch the Throne."

Independent record labels have untied under a singular cause: to protest the advantages iTunes and Best Buy have over other outlets selling Jay-Z and Kanye West's Watch the Throne.

iTunes will release the album on August 8, four days before the physical release, and Best Buy has an exclusive on the deluxe edition of the album for the first ten days of its release.

According to, Record Store Day sent out an e-mail to participating independent record stores requesting that they sign an open letter addressed to both Hov and Yeezy.

The collective plans to publish the letter "shortly" in Billboard magazine.

The letter contends that this "exclusives" practice will do damage to the nearly 2,000 independent record stores that continue to sell music by the two emcees.

Read the letter below:

"Dear Jay-Z and Kanye West,

Independent record stores serve our communities. Our passion is music, and
we convey this to the millions of customers who come to our stores. That's
what we do.

Four years ago independent music stores across the country banded together
to create Record Store Day. Our goal was to counter the negative media
coverage about the supposed demise of record stores brought on by the
closing of the Tower stores and to respond to the music business practices
that fans deemed to be manipulative and onerous.

We reached out to the artist community to see if they would join us, and the
response was overwhelming with words of support coming in from Paul
McCartney, Erykah Badu, Tom Waits, Chuck D, the Foo Fighters and countless
others. Working with their label partners, many of these musicians created
limited edition works of art, including vinyl and CDs made especially for
music specialty retail. Hundreds of these artists took the opportunity to
perform, DJ, and interact with their fans in our record stores. Here in the
US, Record Store Day lifted the entire music business by 8% and contributed
to the growth in music sales. Record Store Day is now one of the biggest
music events in history with millions of people participating worldwide. We
also continue to work throughout the year with labels, artists and managers
and run regular promotions via physical independent retail and

We are responding to the bad news that your new album will not be available
to independent record stores until after iTunes gets a window of
exclusivity. We also learned that the deluxe version (which is what the true
music fans who shop our stores will want by an overwhelming majority) will
only be available at Best Buy exclusively for a period of time. We believe
this is a short-sighted strategy, and that your decisions will be doing
great damage to over 1,700 independent record stores -- stores that have
supported you and your music for years.

We know that you are busy, and that you put most of your energies into
creating great music, but we are writing to you in the hope that you will
hear us and take the time to rectify this matter. As representatives of the
independent record store music community, we are asking you to allow record
stores and music fans equal access to your new album.

With the utmost respect,

Dedry Jones, The Music Experience
Mike Dreese, Newbury Comics
Judy Negley, Independent Records
Mike Batt, Silver Platters
Tobago Benito, DBS Sounds
Brian Faber, Zia Records
Karen Pearson, Amoeba Music
Bryan Burkert, The Sound Garden
Mike Wise, Monster
Rob Roth, Vintage Vinyl
Joe Nardone, Jr., Gallery of Sound
Jonathan Fernandez, Rasputin Music
Dilyn Radakovitz, Dimple Records
Dustin Hansen, Graywhale Entertainment
Bill Kennedy, BK Music
Jim Bland, Plan Nine
Steve Wilson, Kiefs
Tom King, Central Square Records
Alayna Hill Alderman, Richard Storms, Record Archive
Karl Groeger, Looney Tunes
Paul Epstein, Twist and Shout
Nancy Salzer, Salzer's Records
Rick Ziegler, Indy CD
Laura, Finders Records
Deon Borchard, Nic Fritze, The Long Ear
Chuck Oken, Rhino /Mad Platter
Allan Miller, John Bevis, Disc Exchange
Charlotte Kubat, Magnolia Thunderpussy
John Kunz, Waterloo Records
Chris Avino, Rainbow Records
Mike Fratt, Homers
Rich Koch, Off the Record
Skip Hermans, Skip's Record and CD World
Jason Patton, Oz Music
Quinn Bishop, Cactus Records
John Timmons, ear X tacy
Lou Russell, Lou's Records
Roger Weiss, Streetlight Records
Terry Currier, Music Millenium
Andrew Chinnici, Lakeshore Record Exchange
Michael Bunnell, The Record Exchange
Mike White, Boo Boo Records   
Steve Baron, CD Central   
Eric Levin, Criminal Records   
Pat O'connor, Culture Clash   
Dan Plunkett, End Of An Ear   
Paula Kret, Exile On Main St   
Chris Penn, Good Records   
Doyle Davis, Grimey's   
Travis Searle, Guestroom Records   
Jim Mcguinn, Hot Poop   
Isaac Slusarenko, Jackpot Records   
Jason Nickey & Heath Byers, Landlocked Music   
Todd Robinson, Luna Music   
Darren & Jim Blase, Shake It   
Anna & Chris Brozek, Slowtrain   
Kimber Lanning, Stinkweeds   
Tom 'Papa' Ray, Vintage Vinyl"

Related: Big Sean Hints At Cameo On Jay-Z & Kanye West's "Watch The Throne" Tour


  • know771

    This is an easy fix, make this record available by vinyl only for dj's at the same time or before the realease date of the others, then all of the dj's will support the mom & pops. Oh yeah marketing is my business, or one of them.

  • Antwane Fort

    I understand that the indie stores are upset , but Watch the Throne is not the first hip hop cd to have deals with Itunes and Best Buy.

  • yug

    Capitalism at it's finest!

  • controverse

    the best solution to this problem in my opinion is to let all the indies sell the delux edition after Best Buy's "exlusive period". It's not perfect, but it's somewhat of a compromise.

  • controverse

    "Jim Mcguinn, Hot Poop" By far the best signature!

  • Anonymous

    it is good that they are untied over this...

  • ilexx

    This is pretty interesting actually... The fact that all these independent retailers want to SELL your music and are actually fighting to get a chance to sell it is a very good look for Kanye and Jigga. If they were wise they would figure out a way to incorporate these Indie stores, its more exposure for them and giving fans easier access to finding their music. I hear fans complain all the time about going to certain record stores and not being able to find their fav. artist's music. I am 100% sure that if they work out something with these distribution channels they will undoubtedly increase their record sales.

  • Anonymous

    everybody wanna eat from niggas money

  • foekist

    I bet that the first thing that Kanye says is, "Damn why did they address it to Jay and then me. It should've been me then that nigga!"

  • nixnox

    Jay-z came from nothing, he should understand where these 'little' guys are coming from - and I agree, giving exclusives like this to large retail outlets is unfair for the smaller stores.

  • Anonymous

    The amount of grammatical errors on this site is becoming more and more ridiculous.

    • Anonymous

      to add to my post, you think you are clever double negative, i see you. but anyways, nice vocabulary, kudos

    • Anonymous

      haahaha, i went straight to the comments after I saw the word "untied." I got the gist, i just wanted to read the comments then

    • Doubl Negative

      @ Anonymous; I refer you to the statement I made earlier regardin' grammar in the Common 6th Sense piece. It's exasperating readin' about pedantry every day on a hip-hop site. Anyway, in regards to Jigga he may have a poor background, but he no longer has an affinity with street people. The avaricious nature of hip-hop has had a tremendous affect on our music. True inveterate connoisseurs of the of the music are sidelined in favour of listeners who know nothing about the music.

    • Vanno Davis

      i hope u said that in the rza's voice

  • SutterKane

    Jay-Z is big buisness, he doesnt give a fuck about the little guys Summin like this is the a perfect example of why, as much as I respect him, I just dont like him. He strikes me like the kind of guy who could sign a piece of paper that costs Thousands of people there jobs, and as long as it doesnt effect his money he wouldnt even break a sweat about it, just another piece of shit buisnessman

  • anthology

    i work at best buy, and im a big hiphophead. now i can say from what i experienced is that consumers of all walks leave my store with rap albums. its only fitting that a fortune 500 company like a best buy or intones gets the exclusive rights, just because of the ability of mass appeal. i might seem biased by saying this but, fans rarely support shit like exclusive rights let alone even buy full albums. im sure you cant cant have itunes send you a hard copy of a deluxe like how you can buy it from a physical store like bby

    • Best Buy Sucks

      best buy rap section sucks, one time i went there and they didn't have Illmatic or Reasonable Doubt

    • datNIGGAJ

      Best Buy sucks ASS. Cosign w/ actually. SEVERAL times I've been there and all they have are the top billbored (misspelled on purpose) "artists". I'm tired of this BULLSHIT!

    • @lias

      sad but true, men lie, women lie, numbers don't... ya heard him. letter should've been directed strictly to Kanye. Hov would've got the message.

    • actually

      more than half the time best buy doesnt even have all the newest hip hop albums, im sure main stream shit like this they will, but when it comes to artist like wu tang they barely do, on tuesday wu tang legendary weapons came out, the best buy i go 2 had 1 copy, 1 fuckin copy of a brand new cd that i know more than 1 person will pay 4. inspectah deck had a new cd last year or maybe 2 years ago, best buy didnt even have 1 copy let alone a slot on the shelf for inspectah deck, i asked one of the girls that worked there, she said i shit you not "inspector jet, i nver heard of him"

  • Jamel Raines

    WOW!!! Stones Throw Records Is Missing From That List; Did They Not Get The Memo!!! #JawDrop.

    • Jamel Raines

      @ckopp, you stated the obvious but the goal of the letter applies to independent record stores!! Stones Throw Sells records and its an independent outfit despite the other aspects of its operation.

    • ckopp

      stones throw is a record label, not a record store. while they do sell records on their website, it's their artists music... not major label top 100 pop isht.

    • uhh really?

      how in any way is this a publicity stunt?

    • OxyCottontail

      Stones throw don't give a fuck about that commercial bullshit dog stop that. This is a publicity stunt on jay-z/def jam's behalf.

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