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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