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

With everything going digital in the music business, consumers may not be the only ones forgetting about record stores.

Jay-Z and Kanye West decided to give iTunes their Watch The Throne EP 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.

The independent record store owners have banded together to write an open letter to the Roc boys to let them know how this affects them and the industry.

With only 2,000 stores left that sell vinyl and CDs outside of the Target, Wal-mart and Best Buy stores, by losing exclusivity, the chances anyone will wait to buy the album from them is slim.

So the letter had been written, signed, and they hope to get it published in Billboard magazine. We’d love to see a response from Hov and Ye’s reps. Read the full 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”