Rap superstar Jay Z has defended his decision to sign an exclusive retail deal for his highly-anticipated joint release with Kanye West, insisting it is the only way to avoid the album leaking online.
The hip-hop heavyweights have negotiated a special deal which will see their project Watch The Throne released via online store iTunes next week (begs08Aug11), before it is sold in U.S. chain Best Buy for almost two weeks ahead of other American retailers.
The move prompted independent record store bosses to attack the rappers in an open letter, claiming the exclusive agreement will do "great damage" to their businesses.
But Jay Z insists that was never their intention - they simply want to avoid the risk of seeing their music on the internet before its scheduled release date.
He tells New York radio station Hot 97, "I feel a little bad about it, but at the same time we made this album, we took eight months, we should be able to release it the way we like without everyone being up in arms. The real reason behind it was because we didn't want the music to leak; we wanted to present it to the people - we were thinking about the people in its entirety.
"When you send it out to physical (stores), it pretty much, once it leaves the plant, it's on the truck and that's the end of it. And it has to go like two weeks before it goes to stores. That's not gonna happen, that's not gonna leak. We took great care to make sure it's not leaking at all."