The Stem Player creates a Kanye controlled world of exclutivity and creativity


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Depicted is the stem player as seen from the official site which includes the price indicated by the simple “200” label and the ability to click links that teach more about the iconic object.

By Justin Greenzaid, Sports Editor

Kanye West has been making waves in the media as of late. That is definitely not out of the ordinary; but the things he is doing, those can be classified as extraordinary. Aside from erratically posting to his Instagram and having a documentary on Netflix in the past month, he has also announced that his new album “Donda 2” will only be released on his own platform, the Stem Player. 

Many may not understand the idea behind the Stem Player. But for a creative like West it is simply genius. The Stem Player is a little circular speaker that plays music but also allows users to mix the music themselves and control the vocals, drums, bass and samples to isolate parts of songs and add their own effects. There has been a lot of skepticism behind his idea though because the Stem Player costs a hefty $200 and many of his fans don’t want to have to pay for the technology in order to listen to his new album. 

“I do think it was a good idea as it allows aspiring artists to easily create remixes and let their ideas and thoughts about music flow,” WCHS junior Jack O’Donnell said. “Personally I would not consider buying the Stem Player because for me I just don’t think I would get enough use out of it for the $200 it costs.”

West announced via Instagram that his Stem Player would be the only platform that his highly anticipated album “Donda 2” (the sequel of “Donda” which broke records when it released on Aug. 29, 2021) would release after his $2 million Apple Music deal was terminated. Apple Music was supposed to display the show of Kanye’s recent “Donda 2” listening concert in Miami but after his sponsorship ended it was instead displayed directly on the Stem Player website. 

West created the platform because he was frustrated that artists were not profiting as much as they should from their own music. This is the case for many creators from vloggers that get robbed a majority of their earnings by Youtube to rappers that have a majority of their earnings taken by Spotify. The idea of owning every part of one’s art is terrific and is a cause that creatives advocate for. West’s new Stem Player is now the mascot of this campaign. 

“I do think the Stem Player was a smart idea because it simplified breaking down music to its main instruments for the common listener. A lot of producers and DJs praise Mr. West for this invention,” WCHS senior Spencer Nash said. 

The Stem Player was initially launched on Aug. 25, 2021 and since then has made almost $10 million. In an instagram from Feb. 22 West posted a picture depicting that since his announcement that his album would only be on the Stem Player he had made over $1 million from Stem Player sales up to Feb. 22. 

The Stem Player is capable of playing any song that can be uploaded with a USB which allows for a wide range of music. The ability to play any desired artists songs on the device makes it even more valuable and it comes with tons of features for such a simple device as well as allows the user to listen to it through headphones.

“I like that the Stem Player comes fully loaded with Donda and it’s the only way to listen to Donda 2 and also that you can be very creative with it and listen to other songs as well,” O’Donnell said. 

Although the device is groundbreaking and is very smart for the artist, it is a bit of a hassle for listeners. The $200 price point is quite expensive and not many people want to pay additional money to listen to an album when they already pay for a streaming service monthly. With that being said, the die hard Kanye fans are still running up the sales of the Stem Player and the ceiling for its sales are entirely unknown. 

“It’s a shame Donda 2 won’t be on major platforms but for a very popular creative like Mr. West it’s a cool, unique idea to keep his music exclusive and likely smart,” Nash said.