Usually when artists kick their whole “I do it for the art, my fans and not the money or my label ” spiel, my impulse is to respond with, “Yeah, right.”
But Drake’s track record this summer more than backs up what he said to us a few weeks back about not caring about the restrictions his label place on him in regards to releasing freebies, as he did recently.
This past Saturday he dropped two songs, “Free Spirit” and “Club Paradise,” on his website. Both are cuts from recording sessions for his upcoming Take Care album.
Of course a record label or any sound-minded business would side against releasing their products for free. But Drake, who made his name off of releasing free mixtapes, believes otherwise.
So far he’s released Saturday’s offerings, “Dreams Money Can Buy,” and official album cuts “Marvin’s Room” and “Headlines,” without charge. The last two are now available for purchase on iTunes. Still, the fact that true fans could scoop them right from the man himself for nothing initially says plenty.
Moreover, they’re all quality works. “Free Spirit” is a treacherous, slow winding song on which he and Rick Ross urge women to tattoo their names on their bodies so that they’re always near, even when gone.
The piano-led “Club Paradise,” which Drake released for “our boy Avery…this was his favorite s— during the recording process,” finds Drake in a more pensive place—thinking about how wild it is that he’s gone from an unknown artist to being a spectator at high-end fashion shows.
“No wonder why I feel awkward at this Fashion Week s—/ No wonder why I keep f—in’ up the double cheek kiss,” he raps.
“I don’t care about anybody’s voice outside of my fans’,” Drake said of his sometimes-angry record label. “I’m never trying to take the political road and play things safe. I just want people to have great music. I just want to give people enough to where they’re satisfied.”
Business wise, it’s a strategy that’s not well tested. Kanye West leaked early versions of tracks from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, on his website last summer. But by the time it came out they’d been fleshed out, making them new again and encouraging fans to buy the set.
Drake’s label mate Lil Wayne is also known for releasing loads of mixtapes and such prior to albums, which helped lead his last two Carter albums to top starts on the Billboard 200 albums chart at No. 1 with nearly a million records sold in the first seven days. Though even Wayne didn’t purposefully leak album songs.
Drake’s releasing great songs in their finished form. We won’t find out how this will affect Take Care’s sales until after it’s out October 24. In any case, I believe that Drake actually doesn’t care. The goal, as he said, is to please his fans.
Glad Drake is releasing so many songs for free? What do you think of them? Think this will work out for him in the end and not hurt his sales? Let us know.