Jay-Z and Kanye Show How to Prevent an Album Leak in the Digital Age

Biometric fingerprints! Disabling of WiFi capabilities! Forcing hip-hop collaborators to actually do their work in person! These are among the steps Jay-Z and Kanye West took to prevent their new album, Watch the Throne, from leaking onto the Internet prior to its release date a week ago, according to Billboard:

Conceived during three iterations in Australia, New York City and Paris, "Watch the Throne" was kept secure by three core engineers -- Mike Dean, Anthony Kilhoffer and Noah Goldstein -- who disabled their computers' Wi-Fi at pop-up studios constructed in hotel rooms. Due to compromising hacker attempts for West's 2010 release "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy," outside producers such as the RZA and Swizz Beatz were asked to appear in-person for works-in-progress -- no emailed song drafts were allowed.

To combat pre-release piracy, Kilhoffer, Grammy Award-winner for West's Graduation and John Legend's Get Lifted, claims that all sessions were saved offsite to hard drives in Goldstein's locked Pelican briefcase over the course of nine months. "Everywhere we went in hotels, we were locking hard drives and Noah took them with him," says Kilhoffer, who now travels with external memory units that can only be accessed by biometric fingerprints.

The technology, which Kilhoffer implements while traveling on West's current European tour, takes a live scan of one's finger to serve as key to access protected material. For less than $100, devices such as the Eikon Digital Privacy Manager and Zvetco Fingerprint Reader measure the finger's ridges and valleys with conductor plates, transmitting imprints through a USB cord to safeguard hard drive contents. While on the road, Kilhoffer and Dean are the sole gatekeepers to unlock the digital safes.

Read the full story at Billboard.biz.

Presented by

Spencer Kornhaber is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he edits the Entertainment channel. More

Before coming to The Atlantic, he worked as an editor for AOL's Patch.com and as a staff writer at Village Voice Media's OC Weekly. He has also written for Spin, The AV Club, RollingStone.com, Field & Stream, and The Orange County Register.

The Blacksmith: A Short Film About Art Forged From Metal

"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

An Ingenious 360-Degree Time-Lapse

Watch the world become a cartoonishly small playground

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

Video

The Rise of the Cat Tattoo

How a Brooklyn tattoo artist popularized the "cattoo"

More in Entertainment

Just In