West was only trying to show off a YouTube video he was listening to, but eagle-eyed followers — including electronic music producer Deadmau5 — spotted a few tabs in the background of Safari that show West was browsing PirateBay download pages for torrents of a popular $200 plug-in called Serum (pictured below).
Serum is a synthesizer plug-in popular among electronic music and hip-hop producers available as standard VST or AU files to be used inside of music production apps like Apple’s own Logic Pro X, ProTools, and other similar audio production suites. It’s developed by XferRecords, a company co-founded by Deadmau5 and partners for side projects including the Serum plug-in.
Sure it’s possible Kanye could claim it wasn’t his computer and he was just using it, but it’s hard to imagine why a musician of Kanye’s caliber (and with his bank account) would be in any studio stealing copies of a $200 piece of software made by a small developer.
West hasn’t responded to the criticism of the apparent torrenting activity, which many are quick to point out follows reports that West was considering legal action related to a record number of illegal downloads of his latest album. That’s the same album he decided to make only available on streaming music service Tidal while recently cancelling planned releases for Apple Music and other competitive services.
Kanye responded with some jabs at Deadmau5 on Twitter, accusing him of not contributing to helping raise subscription numbers for Tidal, the Jay-Z owned streaming service Kanye has a stake in and that both artists helped to promote when it launched last year:
And if you want to help Kanye afford a copy of Serum, there’s a gofundme project set up here to contribute.
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