Jay-Z’s Album ‘4:44’ Ends Tidal Exclusivity and Debuts on Apple Music and iTunes

Last week, Jay-Z's new album "4:44" debuted exclusively on his own music streaming service Tidal, and then reports predicted that the album would expand to Apple Music and other services one week later. Now, 4:44 has begun streaming on Apple Music, and is available for $9.99 on iTunes [Direct Link].

Earlier in the week, Jay-Z debuted a video for one of 4:44's tracks, The Story of O.J., on Apple Music while the album was still a Tidal exclusive. Even during its one-week exclusivity window, 4:44 went platinum in under a week, certifying that the record has sold 1 million equivalent album units in the United States. One equivalent album unit represents one full album sale, ten tracks sold from an album, or 1,500 on-demand audio and/or video streams from an album as of February 2016.


In the midst of Jay-Z's new album launch, Kanye West -- one of Tidal's initial sixteen artists/co-owners -- was reportedly seeking to end Tidal's exclusivity rights over his new music and break from the service (via Billboard). West was said to claim he was owed "more than $3 million" because his album "The Life of Pablo" "resulted in 1.5 million new subscribers to Tidal, for which he was supposed to get a bonus but the company hasn't paid."

Now, a source close to West has said that Tidal's exclusivity rights to his music have been terminated, "based on what is alleged to be Tidal's failure to honor its financial obligations." West has been vocal in the past about company rivalries negatively affecting the music industry as a whole, eventually allowing The Life of Pablo onto Apple Music after first saying it would "never" happen.

In addition to Apple Music, 4:44 has also begun streaming on Amazon Music Unlimited, although Spotify has not been included in the expansion of Jay-Z's newest album. Earlier this year, Jay-Z removed his entire catalog of music from Apple Music and Spotify, without giving a clear indication as to why, and while many of the songs reappeared on Apple Music a few days later, most of it remains missing from Spotify.


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Jay-Z’s Album ‘4:44’ Rumored to Arrive on Apple Music After One Week of Tidal Exclusivity

Soon after Jay-Z's newest album, "4:44," launched as an exclusive on his own streaming service Tidal, sources speaking to Billboard this weekend have said that 4:44 will be coming to Apple Music and iTunes later this week. Tidal and Sprint are believed to have a one week exclusivity window on 4:44, so it's predicted that the album will launch on Apple Music next Friday, July 7.

A rumor last year stated that Apple was in talks to purchase Tidal, but Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine eventually denied those reports by saying, "We're really running our own race. We're not looking to acquire any streaming services." For a brief period of time earlier this year, Jay-Z even removed all of his albums from Apple Music and Spotify, although most eventually reappeared on Apple Music a few days later.


A track on 4:44, called "Smile," references the Apple Music and Tidal feud by specifically calling out Jimmy Iovine (via Business Insider).
F*** a slice of the apple pie, want my own cake
Chargin' my own fate
Respect Jimmy Iovine
But he gotta respect the Elohim as a whole new regime
The ongoing rivalry between the two competing music services is said to be negatively affecting the music industry as a whole, according to Kanye West who tweeted about the two companies last summer. Later in 2016, West blamed the fight between Apple Music and Tidal as the main factor behind the reason why there won't be a sequel to Watch The Throne, his 2011 collaboration with Jay-Z. Kanye's album "The Life of Pablo" began as a Tidal exclusive as well, before it eventually streamed on Apple Music and other services after a few months.

Exclusive deals for services like Apple Music, Tidal, and Spotify have come under fire in recent years by music labels and critics, but Apple has continued releasing exclusive music on its streaming service. Tidal has done the same thing with 4:44, tying the album into the service's recent acquisition by Sprint.
That source also confirmed that fans need to sign up for Sprint service in order to get the album if they are not already Tidal subscribers. Otherwise, as noted by disgruntled Jay fan hit-making producer Mark Ronson, it is only available to those who were pre-established Tidal subscribers before June 26 or already had Sprint service.
If this weekend's report is accurate, Tidal/Sprint's exclusivity window will be ending very soon, allowing more users to get a chance to listen to 4:44 than if it remained a streaming exclusive on Tidal. The sources didn't confirm whether 4:44 will make it to other streaming services in addition to Apple Music, like Spotify, after Tidal's exclusivity window ends.


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New Jay Z Album ‘4:44’ Will Be Sprint-Tidal Exclusive

Rapper Jay Z has confirmed that his new album, 4:44, will be released on June 30 and will be available exclusively to Sprint customers and existing Tidal subscribers (via Variety). The album is the first major project between the streaming music service and Sprint, which acquired 33 percent of the company in January in a deal reportedly worth $200 million.


Tidal has recently been promoting 4:44 with videos on YouTube featuring actors Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danny Glover, suggesting video content could accompany the album.

Based on the performance of previous Tidal-only releases, how long the album remains an exclusive could have a big effect on its chart success. Beyonce's album Lemonade reportedly suffered because of its exclusivity to Tidal, which claims as many as 3 million subscribers. That contrasts with Spotify's claimed 50 million paying subscribers, with Apple Music now on 27 million subscribers, as revealed earlier this month at the Worldwide Developers Conference.

Apple was rumored to be interested in buying Tidal last year as a way to bolster Apple Music, but the company later denied the reports and said it wasn't looking to acquire any existing streaming services. The rivalry between Apple Music and Tidal has been criticized for their promotion of exclusive artist deals, which Kanye West said was negatively affecting the music industry.

As part of the Sprint-Tidal deal, Sprint customers are eligible to receive a free six-month Tidal trial subscription to the streaming service.

Tags: Sprint, Tidal

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Tidal Owner Jay Z Has Removed All of His Albums From Apple Music

Shawn Carter, known professionally as rapper Jay Z, appears to have removed his entire solo album collection from Apple Music overnight. Now, when searching for "Jay Z" on Apple Music, only songs in which he collaborated on with other artists are available to stream on the service in the United States and elsewhere.


Jay Z co-owns Tidal, a rival streaming music service, so his decision to remove his discography from Apple Music could be for competitive reasons. Kanye West, another stakeholder in Tidal, also implied that there might be some animosity between Apple and Jay Z in a series of tweets last year.

Jay Z's albums appear to have been removed from Spotify recently as well, however, so his decision might be unrelated to any potential feud with Apple. Spotify on Twitter today said it can "confirm that some of Jay Z's catalogue has been removed at the request of the artist," but it did not provide a specific reason.

Jay Z's albums are still available for purchase on iTunes, while his wife Beyoncé still offers many of her songs and albums on Apple Music, including the newly added single "Die With You," which was just released as a digital download today. However, the music video for "Die With You" is exclusive to Tidal.

Tidal's other stakeholders, including Kanye West, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Daft Punk, Jack White, Madonna, Arcade Fire, Alicia Keys, Usher, and Calvin Harris, also continue to offer many of their songs and albums on Apple Music.

Tidal costs $9.99 per month, the same price as Apple Music, while a premium tier with high-fidelity sound is available for $19.99 per month. Tidal said it had over 3 million subscribers in March 2016, but recent reports have claimed it may have been falsely inflating the number of paying customers it had.

Apple Music had over 20 million subscribers as of last December, while Spotify recently announced it surpassed 50 million paying customers.

Sprint acquired a 33 percent stake in Tidal in January, and at the time it said it would give its customers "unlimited access to exclusive artist content not available anywhere else." Under the deal, artists partnering with Tidal will create music that will only be available to the carrier's customers.

It's unclear at this point if Sprint's stake in Tidal has anything to do with Jay Z's music being removed from Apple Music or Spotify.

Apple and Jay Z's music label Roc Nation did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Universal Music Group deferred comment to Roc Nation.


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Sprint Buys 33% of Jay Z’s Streaming Music Service Tidal, Plans Exclusives for Customers

Sprint today announced that it has acquired a 33 percent stake in Jay Z's music streaming service Tidal, which the carrier said will soon give its customers "unlimited access to exclusive artist content not available anywhere else." Under the deal, artists partnering with Tidal will create music only available to new and existing Sprint customers.

As part of the deal, Sprint's chief executive officer Marcelo Claure will also join Tidal's board of directors. The carrier mentioned that Tidal will continue to function as normal, and Jay Z will remain in charge of the streaming service's artists and music content. In a statement, Jay Z said that Sprint understands and shares Tidal's goal of creating a dynamic and revolutionary addition to the streaming music service industry.

tidal-sprint
“Sprint shares our view of revolutionizing the creative industry to allow artists to connect directly with their fans and reach their fullest, shared potential,” said JAY Z. “Marcelo understood our goal right away and together we are excited to bring Sprint’s 45 million customers an unmatched entertainment experience.”
Artists under Tidal will gain access to a dedicated marketing fund provided by Sprint, which the carrier says "will allow artists the flexibility to create and share their work with and for their fans." Further information about the Sprint/Tidal partnership will be coming soon.

Apple was thought to be interested in acquiring Tidal last summer in an effort to further boost Apple Music, but the company eventually denied those reports with Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine saying "we're not looking to acquire any streaming services." Apple Music and Tidal have been competitors since their launch, each promoting exclusive artist deals with a rivalry that Kanye West said is negatively affecting the music industry as a whole.

Tags: Sprint, Tidal

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