1. Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne is the only major album of the past few years to NOT leak. If anyone can keep a highly anticipated album from leaking, it’s Kanye.
West’s camp figured out how to prevent leaks after assessing the leak of a few tracks from his previous album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, in 2010.
2. Kanye’s camp stopped sending versions of tracks to each other by email or any other online service.
“During Dark Twisted, we realized that no one’s email was secure, whether it was Gmail or .mac or iDisk,” Anthony Kilhofer, one of the engineers on Watch the Throne, told Billboard.
3. He also stopped working in regular recording studios, choosing to instead set up small studios in hotel rooms and other locations where he could keep out anyone besides trusted inner circle collaborators.
West used similar methods in recording Yeezus.
4. Kanye keeps works-in-progress tracks on password-protected external hard drives that are locked away in Pelican briefcases, never on laptop hard drives.
On top of that, the external hard drives can only be accessed by biometric fingerprint readers.
5. West had both Watch the Throne and Yeezus mastered only a week before release to keep the window for final recordings to fall into the wrong hands as brief as possible.
The final official master of Watch the Throne was delivered to iTunes three days before it went on sale on Monday, Aug. 8th, 2011.
6. Many albums are leaked around the time CDs are manufactured or shipped, but West made sure Watch the Throne was sent to a secured CD plant after its digital release.
7. Unlike Watch the Throne, Yeezus will be out on CD the same day it’s being released digitally. There’s a good chance that someone could leak it in this stage, but big box chains make it difficult for this to happen.
This user on the KanyeToThe.com message board explains:
This is less secure when it comes to independent record stores, but there’s a lot fewer of those these days.