Sprint users will be the first to hear Jay-Z’s newest album. The rapper’s first record in nearly four years titled “4:44,” will not be available to Spotify or Apple Music subscribers for an extended period of time after its release. Instead, the album goes exclusively to Sprint and Tidal customers.
With a release date of June 30th, any non-Sprint or Tidal users must wait up to six months to get their hands on a copy of Jay-Z’s latest venture. This is due in large part to the stake Sprint purchased in Tidal, the streaming service owned by the “99 Problems” rapper. In January, Sprint bought a 33% percent stake in the platform, presumably working out this deal for exclusive rights to any upcoming Jay-Z music at the same time.
Sprint’s partnership with Tidal comes at a crucial time for the streaming service. Tidal reported that it had 3 million subscribers as of last year, with nearly half enrolled in the $19.99 package. It sounds like a good number, until you consider the membership size of both competitors Spotify and Apple Music. Spotify boasts 50 million users, while Apple claims it has 27 million subscribers.
This musical exclusivity has become a common practice as of late. Jay-Z was one of the first artists to launch an album for a specific audience, making his prior record available to Samsung Galaxy users. Fellow rapper Kanye West followed suit, releasing his album “The Life of Pablo” only to Tidal customers last year. Other artists have been outspoken about streaming services. Taylor Swift pulled her entire catalog off Spotify for three whole years before re-releasing her music to the site earlier this month.
“4:44” is Jay-Z’s first recording since “Magna Carta… Holy Grail” hit the charts back in 2013. His catalog of recordings is certainly impressive as each of his 13 albums have at least gone platinum in terms of sales. 1998’s “Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life” was his biggest commercial success; going platinum five times over. Although his previous album received mixed reviews, critics and music fans alike, expect big things from Jay-Z’s newest project.