Following a week of false starts, 25th-hour studio sessions, and frenzied Twitter updates, Kanye West set his seventh studio album The Life of Pablo free in the early hours of Sunday morning exclusively on Tidal.
The internet did what the internet will do and quickly began circulating bootleg download links of the album ripped from the Tidal stream. One such Zippyshare link posted deep in a 4Chan thread seemed to be not quite like the others, however, and message board commenters where quick to surmise that it was a leak posted by none other than West himself (or at least someone in his camp).
Titled "please buy this shit man," the file in question was remarkable for a couple of reasons, according to a poster on HasItLeaked.com. It was comprised of files that appear to have been modified nearly an hour before the album appeared on Tidal. Moreover, those files were 320 .m4a files, whereas the files ripped from Tidal were lossless FLAC or 256 .m4a. And the artwork accompanying the download (above) included a message that echoed some of Kanye's recent tweets, "BUY THIS ALBUM YOU FUCKING THEEF" (sic).
But, while it's fun to believe that Kanye West is playing in the backchannels of the internet, it would seem that it is not the case that he was responsible for that anomalous Zippyshare file. A representative for West told The FADER, "I assure you Kanye did not leak the album."