You’ve got to hand it to Jay Z. Since purchasing Tidal in 2015 for a cool $56 million, Hov’s streaming service has gotten clobbered in the battle for subscribers, with Spotify and Apple Music dominating the landscape. But that hasn’t stopped Jay from pushing forward, despite having the odds stacked against him.
In his latest effort to make Tidal relevant, Jay Z has removed the majority of his catalogue from Spotify. All that remains are his 1997 full-lengths In My Lifetime Vol. 1, and Reasonable Doubt, along with 1998’s Vol. 2 Hard Knock Life. There’re also some Kanye West collaborations, along with that ill-fated album he recorded with Linkin Park in 2004, if early aughts nostalgia is your thing. Beyond that, fans hoping to rock out to Jay Z’s singular flow will have to subscribe to Tidal or Apple Music, where most of his oeuvre is still available, which might have something to do with the fact that artists earn more in royalties from Apple than they do from Spotify. When reached for comment, Spotify acknowledged that most of Jay Z’s music had been removed “at the request of the artist.”
When he launched Tidal two years ago with a cabal of his superstar buddies in tow, Jay Z promised higher quality audio and artist exclusives as a way to lure subscribers over to Tidal. It hasn’t worked. At last count, Tidal only has 3 million subscribers compared to Spotify’s 50 million, and it’s unlikely that the absence of Jay Z’s studio albums will convert Spotify users of to Tidal. Jay Z might want to get Drake on the phone.