In the early hours of the morning, Kendrick Lamar's long, long awaited new album To Pimp a Butterfly was made available on iTunes and Spotify about a week before its official March 23rd release date. At first, it seemed like just another nail in the coffin of the official album release date — an intentional move by Kendrick and his team to get the LP out into the world. Now, it seems like the whole thing may have been a mistake. The album was pulled from iTunes (it's still currently available on Spotify) after just 12 hours online.
It all seems to stem from a label miscommunication. To Pimp a Butterfly was released through two labels: the monstrous Interscope, and Top Dawg Entertainment (TDE), a smaller label whose roster includes Lamar's West Coast cohorts Jay Rock and Schoolboy Q. TDE's CEO Anthony Tiffith initially blamed Interscope for the early release:
But after that, he seemed to accept the inevitable and embrace the leak:
Now, it seems Interscope has realized its error and gotten the album pulled from iTunes, while Tiffith just wants to keep it up.
Working on getting the iTunes link fixed smh— dangeroo kipawaa TDE (@dangerookipawaa) March 16, 2015
It doesn't really make sense to pull the album now; the music-listening world has had almost a half a day to digest it, and the Spotify stream still works. A thousand think pieces have already been spawned. Reviews are half-finished. To Pimp a Butterfly is out there for good, even if TDE and Interscope are wavering on the official-ness of it.
Update, 1:14 PM: The album is available on iTunes again.