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Jay-Z, a new album, and Spotify’s ongoing journey toward artist-friendly distribution

For the release of his newest work, Jay-Z opted to gate the album to his Tidal streaming service for one week. But even after distributing the music to most other digital platforms, Spotify still does not have 4:44. That may not be a cheap decision for the artist, and it also shows that Spotify has still not shaken some long-held assumptions among A-list performers. Continue Reading

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Jay-Z’s 4:44 will be available on Apple, but is already popular among pirates

Last week marked the release of 4:44, the much-anticipated new album from Jay-Z. The work was released as an exclusive to Tidal, which is owned by Jay-Z and Sprint, which bought a 33% stake at the start of 2017. The release has not been the smoothest of sailing, an indicator that exclusive album releases are still a contentious approach to distribution that require careful planning to be successful. Continue Reading

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New Jay-Z album marks first exclusive for Tidal and Sprint

Jay-Z is releasing a new album at the end of the month, but it will be exclusive to his Tidal streaming platform. This new exclusive title, 4:44, marks the first such development for Tidal after its partnership with Sprint. In January, Sprint purchased a 33% stake in the streaming company. With this first shared exclusive, new customers of the telecom’s can have a six-month free trial of Tidal HiFi and listen to the new album for free. Continue Reading

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Rumor Fact(ory): Spotify nearing major label deals with some surprising propositions

Financial Times is the source of the latest Spotify speculation, reporting that the streaming service is close to final licensing deals with the major labels. The core of those arrangements, is that Spotify would pay a lower royalty fee to the labels, but in exchange would temporarily gate major album releases for paying customers. Continue Reading