Jay-Z And Kanye West's 'Watch The Throne' Debuts At No. 1 On Billboard 200
Jay-Z And Kanye West's 'Watch The Throne' Debuts At No. 1 On Billboard 200

In response to Jay-Z and Kanye West's decision to offer exclusive sales programs to iTunes and Best Buy for their forthcoming "Watch the Throne" LP, a number of independent retailers have written an open letter to the duo protesting the plan, calling it a "short-sighted strategy." Head here for Billboard.biz's exclusive report on the situation, the text of the letter is below, and add your voice to the conversation by sounding off in the comments 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 U.S., 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 recordstoreday.com.

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
Rachelle Friedman, J&R Music World
Mike Batt, Silver Platters
John Kunz, Waterloo Records
Tobago Benito, DBS Sounds
Brian Faber, Zia Records
Karen Pearson, Amoeba Music
Bryan Burkert, The Sound Garden
Paul Epstein, Twist and Shout
Mike Wise, Monster
Rob Roth, Vintage Vinyl
Karl Groeger, Looney Tunes
Joe Nardone, Jr., Gallery of Sound
Jonathan Fernandez, Rasputin Music
Mike Fratt, Homers
Dilyn Radakovitz, Dimple Records
Lisa Teger-Zhen, Uncle Sam's Music
Dustin Hansen, Graywhale Entertainment
Bill Kennedy, BK Music
Jim Bland and Bob Schick, Plan Nine
Steve Wilson, Kiefs
Tom King, Central Square Records
Alayna Hill Alderman, Richard Storms, Record Archive
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
Chris Avino, Rainbow Records
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
Jack Dennis and Christopher Ashely, Earshot
Lisa Tiger-Zhen, Uncle Sams
Dave Zero, Mad City Music Exchange
Sarah Hefte, Everyday Music
Mike Madrigale, Mr. Suit Records
Lance Price, CD Source
Bruce Carlock, Cats Music
Thomas "Toonz" Predovich, Vinyl Solution Records
Neal Becton, Som Records
Marc Lasky, Music Box
Ryan Shoemaker, Galaxy CDs
John Thominet, Rainbow Records
Rick Linie, Creative Leisure
Chris, Young Ones
Morrison Agen, Neat Neat Neat Records and Music
Peter Gianakopoulos, The Old School Records
Reid Robinson, Co-Op Records, Moline
Carol Copfer, Movie Trading Company, Vintage Stock
John Anderson, Reverberation Vinyl
Rob Kimple, Ramalama Records
Randy Wagner, Radio KAOS Records
Sam Lock, CD.Game Exchange
Rob Bourqu, Music Matters
Steve Hyland, Down In the Valley
Melanie Cade, Mojo Books and Music
Tony Cicalese, We Got The Beats
Andy Schneidkraut, Albums on the Hill
Robert Stapleton, Southwest Sound
Sharon & Shirley Bechor, Rock and Soul Records
Rich and Sue Graves, Budget Tapes & Records
Todd Fundaro, Flipside Records
Adam Hirzel, Saki Records
Kelly, Patrick and Robby, Back Door Records
Stacey Pepper, Vertigo Music
Josh Castleberry, Toxic Beauty Records
Lou Romanelli, Music Masters Worldwide
Bill Prue, Metro City Records
Jon Bauer, Budget Music and Video
Russell Reitz, Listen Up Music
Steve Kessler, CD City
Paul MacDougall, PMac Music
John Aleman, Piranha Records
Elle Quintana, Record Breakers
Mark Matarozzo, Spun Music
Gerry Stumbaugh, The Last Record Store
Heather Frarey, The Record Lounge
Scott Wishart, Lunchbox Records
Joe Smith, Joe's Records
Patrick Bailey, Endangered Species
Mary Radakovits, Compact Disc Center
Anaii Lee-Ender & Norbert Ender, Speaking Volumes
Tim Williams, Any Frequency
Doug and Michelle Williams, Bananas Music
Gary Scotti, Scotti's Records
Rick Sinkiewicz and Josh Carlson, Redscroll Records
Pete Majors, Vacation Vinyl
Tom Sampson, Karma
Scott Chase & Lacey Ritter, Renfield Record Exchange
Kurt Jellinek, Slackers Music, Movies, Games
Travis Searle & Justin Sowers, Guestroom Records
Terry and Deon Borchard, The Long Ear
Manny Alferez, Black Pancake Records
Steven Alejandro, Hogwild Records
Jeffrey Burke, The Record Connection
Kurt & Leigh Legler, Warbler Records
Anthony Tedeschi and Chip Heuisler, Tunes
Dal Basi, Phono Select Records
Brian and Sean Reisman, Hideaway Music
Dave Wilkins, Wax Trax
Billy and Melissa Yergensen, Rock Candy Music And More
Jack Dreznes, Beverly Records
Richard G Terzieff, A B CDs/Recorded Memories
Jim Paddock, Size Records
Carl Nordmeier, Tune Town
Dan Matheson, Repo Records
Greg Ellis, Sundance Records
Matt Mona, KA-CHUNK!! Records
Ken Kosta, Spin Records
Bobbie Lewis, Newtown Book & Record Exchange
Ernie Scholl, Everyday Music, Maine
Reed Lappin, In Your Ear
Chris and Bob Roets, Wooden Nickel Music
Warren Hudson, Decatur CD and Vinyl
Tim Cretsinger, Groovacious
Gary Holzenthal, Odyssey Records
Marvin Phillips, Heavenly Daze CDs and Records
Barry Lazarus, Red Devil Records
Scotty Hagan, UHF Music
Rick Tyner, M-Theory Music
Matt and Rock Cesario, Triple Play Records
Maria Armstrong, Lost and Found Records
Brendan Smith, Requests Music
Shirani Rea, Peaches Records
David Elliot, Replay Records
Michael and Denise Roumbanis, dig! Music
Rand Cabus, Mojo Vinyl
Pete Beaudoin, That's Entertainment
Michael Schildgen, Moondog Music
Al Steele, Wyatt Earp Records
Mitch Kirsner, Fantasy
Eve Monsees, Antone's Record Shop
Mik Davis, T-Bones Records & Café
Bernard Vasek, Musicmania
Pete Gulyas, Blue Arrow Records
Alicia Schultz, Sound Revolution
Tom Robbins, Eagle Valley Music & Comics
Brad Richman, Spazz Records
Leonard Silver, Record Theatre
Greg Larsen, Music to the Maxx
Lance Barresi & Liz Tooley, Permanent Records
Mark Kessler, Recycled Records
Aaron Marquez, 360 Vinyl
Jarrett Noel, DiHi Records
Glen Velger, Harmony Records
Ron Hill, Basement Mix
Sanders Henderson, Nikki's Music
Tim Henderson, Joy Of Music
Bernard Vasek, MusicMania
Kelvin Anderson, VIP Records
Dennie Chong & Ward Yamashita, Hungry Ear Records

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