With the new Jay-Z and Kanye West Watch the Throne album projected to dismantle its competition atop the sales chart this week, Def Jam president Steve Bartels defends the label’s decision to premiere the project digitally.

In Bartels’ eyes, a strong digital release helped eliminate the possibility of massive leaks.

While the iTunes and Best Buy exclusives rankled many independent and chain retailers (Billboard, Aug. 6), Island Def Jam president/COO Steve Bartels says the album will reap dividends by going to digital first. “It is similar a bit to the ’90s model of direct-response TV marketing in advance of actual physical release,” Bartels says. “Today, Internet and digital sales marketing can get the word out, efficiently selling a project in advance, eliminate people who steal music and bootleg, and drive the exposure for consumers to visit the stores when it is released.” (Billboard)

Last week, Def Jam’s Director of Digital Marketing Jycorri Robinson explained how the LP remained leak-free.

“Kanye and Jay are just very tight with the music,” he explained in an interview “Even so far as to where they’ve been, Kanye and Jay have been at every listening session, every event, that there has been and that’s because they’re holding that music so tight to them. There hasn’t been [any] copies floating around the [Def Jam] office ’cause that sh*t is in a vault. They just took it back to the old school, man. They recorded the entire album together; no verses emailed back and forth. It’s just tight eyes on it, only one or two people having access to it.” (XXL Mag)

A few prior to its release, Jay’s manager John Meneilly promised the LP would not leak.

With less than a week to go before Watch the Throne hits iTunes, don’t expect any leaks. Those hoping to get their hands on Jay-Zand Kanye West’s collaborative album early are in for disappointment. “It is not going to leak,” tweeted a confident John Meneilly, Jay-Z’s manager. In order to prevent the album from leaking in advance, digital and physical release dates were staggered. (Rap-Up)

As things stand now, Watch the Throne is projected to sell over 500,000 copies its opening week.

The Roc-a-Fella/Roc Nation hip-hop icons’ Watch the Thronealbum is set for a #1 debut with anywhere from 500-550k, the second-largest first-week sales of the year next to Lady Gaga. (HITS Daily Double)

Check out a recent Jay-Z interview down below: