1. The classic saying goes, “There [are] only two ways to make money in business: One is to bundle; the other is unbundle.”
2. Before the internet, a compact disc with pre-recorded music used to sell for $16.98, from which the artist might earn around $2.72.
3. After the internet, a Spotify stream pays the artist fractions of a penny per stream, which is difficult to make a living from and presents music in an impermanent, ephemeral way.
4. It makes good business sense for Ye and Yeezy to pass up the guaranteed $100 million (a deal similarly offered to Drake in 2018) because the Stem Player can be a new way to bundle music, which could benefit the whole music industry which brought in $7.1 billion in H1 2021.
5. Donda 2 and the Stem Player are a bet on providing a different bundle—a more interesting listening experience than software—and could put Ye and Yeezy in the driver’s seat of how music is distributed in the 2020s and onwards, the profit and power from which would be worth much more than a $100 million advance.