If you go onto your online media player, such as Itunes, Apple Music, Spotify or Amazon’s Digital music store, you’re going to have a very tough time finding some of Mr. Shawn Corey Carter, better known by his stage name Jay-Z. According to Pitchfork magazine, the world renown rapper, producer, and business mogul has decided to no longer allow his albums Reasonable Doubt and the entire Blueprint collection to be streamed on any of the music streaming applications besides TIDAL, which is owned by Jay-Z himself. Although many of his albums are still available on the many streaming options, it seems the legendary artist is looking to remove his content from anything that is not in house.
Beginning in April of last year was when all this started, Jay-Z’s 1996 debut album Reasonable Doubt had been removed from the Spotify library and making them exclusively available only on his streaming service. Many fans were confused and upset about the fact that another application was needed for listening to their favorite rapper’s greatest album. When the artist spoke to Bloomberg they asked whether or not fans would eventually have to choose between either of the services based on exclusive artist content, to which he replied “eventually”. The answer continues to look like more of a possibility for fans, because in the last few months, Jay-Z’s collection Blueprint have also been removed from all streaming services besides TIDAL. Pitchfork caught a Spotify spokesperson for a comment on the disappearance of the albums to which the spokesperson responded “Jay Z’s Blueprint albums have not been available on any streaming service except Tidal for a few months now. We hope he brings them back soon so that his millions of fans on Spotify can enjoy them again.” and fans are wondering when he plans to return them, if ever.
Speculation to why the rap mogul has chosen this seem to point in the direction of self-promotion of both his music, as well as his brand. Jay-Z has been trying to bring many artists behind his cause, explaining that TIDAL offers higher pay-per-stream royalties, believing that Spotify user’s “free membership” subscription (which allows users to listen to music for free but with ads involved, but makes artists receive lower rates for their songs) devalues music entirely. Mr. Carter is attempting to create a portal where the entire music community can live on, where music is streamed, ticketing to concerts are available, news is passed, basically an entire center of music availability.
“Again, there will be other things.” told Jay-Z to a group of students when speaking at at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music “This isn’t just about music; it’s also about concert ticketing. It’s a holistic place where the artists will live in. You may be able to download a song for free, but you’re not getting into concerts for free. There are different things that we offer. It’s not just songs—we’re offering value.”
As on now many of Jay-Z’s work is still available on many of the streaming options, but who knows for how long. The artist seems quite keen on removing all his work from the competitors and creating a new game in the music streaming industry where it is valued by content exclusivity.