Views, the highly anticipated new album from former Degrassi star Drake, is supposed to be exclusive to iTunes and Apple's streaming music service. Just don't tell that to pirates.
The album, released shortly after 11pm ET on Thursday evening, is already tearing up the charts on the file-sharing underground, with people on private, invitation-only websites like What.cd and Waffles.fm able to download the entire album in pristine quality in the blink of an eye. As of Friday morning, the album was downloaded about 3,000 times across the two sites, both of which launched in 2007 and are notoriously difficult to join.
Views is already the second-most downloaded album on these sites within the past week, behind only Beyoncé's Lemonade.
Based on my own searching, Drake's new album does not yet appear to be floating around Usenet, the proto message board-cum-file-trading-bazaar where pirates quickly shared Prince's entire catalog in the hours after his death last week.
That Drake's new album is already being sought ought by savvy music pirates shouldn't surprise anyone who's paid attention to the digital music scene in recent months, with artists increasingly relying upon timed exclusive deals with services like Spotify and Tidal to promote their work. This, of course, may temporarily boost the membership of these services, but it's hard to imagine too many people staying with multiple streaming music services when they all do the same thing.
Drake has not given any indication when Views will be officially released outside of Apple's services.