As owner of a major music-streaming corporation, Jay-Z is essentially in competition with all other platforms like his by nature of the job. Even so, it appears there’s one streaming service he loathes above the rest, enough to continue to deprive it access to his growing catalogue. As of July 7, Tidal’s exclusivity on his new album, 4:44, expired, which opened the album up to other services like Apple Music, iTunes, Amazon Music, Google Play, and more — with a physical edition featuring three new bonus tracks (including Blue Ivy’s rap debut) also out. But you might’ve noticed one major player missing from that list: Spotify. The moment Jay-Z acquired Tidal in 2015, he began the slow process of erasing his music from Spotify. In April of this year, he wiped the service clean of his entire albums catalogue, save for some features and collaborative albums, like the one he did with Linkin Park. He never gave a reason for the removal, though Spotify’s free tier likely doesn’t sit well with his “I’m a business, man” ethos. (Other services like Apple Music still have access to his past albums.) These exact kinds of strict exclusivity rules have reportedly lost Tidal the support of Kanye West; meanwhile, even Spotify’s worst enemy Taylor Swift recently loosened her reins and let it in on the party. Jay-Z, it seems, won’t be so easily persuaded.
Ouch. Photo: Robert Kamau/GC Images