Talib Kweli’s released a new album Friday with a surprising price: $0. According to a tweet from the rapper, the free album, F**k the Money, has already reached a million downloads.
The release of the album was a surprise, according to Rolling Stone, as was a compilation he put out last month. Fans got less than a day’s notice before F**k the Money dropped, coming in the form of an Instagram post that said, “I’m dropping a free album tomorrow. Join Kweliclub.com I will send it to you directly.”
The album is now available on Kweli’s website, kweliclub.com, and listeners have taken advantage of the free download in droves. On Monday, the musician tweeted, “Yall love free [s**t]. A MILLION of Yall downloaded my free album.”
The album’s title track puts capitalism on blast, calling it a “cataclysm,” and saying, “If pursuit of the money is your only goal, then you lose control then you lose your soul.”
Kweli explained more of why he released the album for free on Real Time With Bill Maher: Overtime, reports Billboard. “People don’t buy music, they’d rather stream and pay money to streaming companies,” said Kweli. “It’s convenient. As horrible as it is, it’s my responsibility to do something about it. It’s not on the consumer to do something about the new business model.”
In recent months, we’ve seen a lot of artists make statements about which streaming service they prefer to put their music on — if any at all. From Taylor Swift to Prince to indie artists, there’s been debate over percentages paid per stream, free trial periods, and more. Kweli’s decision to forgo streaming completely by making his album free is an interesting one, not to mention a bold statement, so we’re curious to see where the discussion will go from here.