Some Kanye fans paid $200 to get his new album. They’re still waiting

By Moises Mendez II


February 23, 2022

Some of Kanye West’s fans weren’t too happy with him on Tuesday. 

Last week, the rapper, who goes by the mononym Ye, announced in a since-deleted Instagram post that he was eschewing the streaming services and promised that anyone who bought his $200 Stem Player, a device that lets users customize songs by isolating tracks, would have exclusive access to his new “Donda 2” album on February 22. “After 10 albums of being under 10 contracts,” he wrote, “I turned down a hundred million dollar Apple deal. No one can pay me to be disrespected. We set our own price for our art.”

On Sunday, West announced that he had already sold $2.2 million worth of the devices. “We did more revenue on Stem Player, without the album even being out, than we would have done with the album being out on streaming,” he wrote on Instagram in a post that also has since been deleted, estimating that the album would have had to be streamed 500 million times to earn that amount. But after more than 10,000 fans shelled out for the player, the album failed to materialize on Tuesday. West unveiled the songs that evening via a listening party—attended by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Marilyn Manson, among others—and livestreamed on YouTube and in Imax theaters (neither of which required a $200 device). But as of Wednesday afternoon, only four songs were available on the Stem Player, and the entirety of “Donda 2” was yet to be released, with no official word on when it might be coming.

Some fans took to Twitter to complain, while others begged West to release the album on streaming platforms like Spotify. Of course, West’s fans are used to delays and chaotic album drops. His 2016 album “The Life of Pablo” was delayed four days, and his most recent album “Donda” came out 13 months after West first teased about its release.