With Drake dropping Care Package, it brings out the potential for artists to officially release their unreleased music on streaming services.
When it comes to the artists we admire, there is definitely a catalog of unreleased music we will never get to hear. Many artists only want to put out music that reflects their projects’ aesthetic or style. However, artists tend to put out music on platforms like Soundcloud for free. When songs are released this way, they are usually not eligible to be given an official release that could be used for streaming or for purchase. Not only that, there have been song leaks that lead to artists scrapping those tracks altogether.
There are many reasons why artists tend to keep these tracks unreleased. For one, the artist may have moved on from the era of when a song was released. Take Drake’s latest release for example. His song Draft Day came out in between his album Nothing Was The Same and his mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late. It’s been five years since the track dropped and now, Drake included it in his compilation album. Many aspects of the song are completely different from Drake’s current persona, but he gave his fans the option to stream and/or buy it. The song is not relevant today, nor are the athletes mentioned in the track, but the ability to stream Draft Day on Spotify and Apple Music is exciting for any fan of the song.
Another big reason artists fail to release these tracks on a larger scale is due to sample clearances. Samples are prominent in the hip-hop community, but one thing that many producers often encounter is an expensive sample. This makes the release of a track difficult financially, especially if the artist loses money on the song in the long run. Many hip-hop artists have at least one song that has not been able to have a full release due to this. Chance the Rapper notably had a track that did not make the cut for his Coloring Book project. The song sampled Roberta Flack’s “If Only for One Night,” and because of a clearance issue, it did not make the Grammy-winning album.
Now it would be difficult to promote the idea of releasing unreleased music without giving proper examples. There are several that come to mind. Travis Scott has risen to fame quite quickly over the last couple of years, and his music catalog is pretty prominent. Yet, there are still tracks that have not made it to streaming services. His mixtapes and tracks A Man and Green and Purple are all on SoundCloud, but have not had an official release. Travis has also previewed some loose tracks such as Houdini with Playboi Carti that has never had any sort of release. With these three songs alone, the compilation album would have a solid foundation and a similar sort of hype that Care Package received. There’s so much potential for artists to utilize.
Frank Ocean. Travis Scott. Lil Wayne. Kendrick. J. Cole. Andre 3000. Kanye. There are so many heavyweights that could simply drop an album of unreleased music and have it be successful. There needs to be better incentives for artists to be able to release music than simply making money. Whether they do it for the fans or because they love to share their music, it would be beneficial to artistry all around.