If news of Jay-Z removing his albums from the services turn out to be real, not just a temporary mistake, then it will make the fight between Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and the other streaming services over subscribers with exclusive content even more ruthless. Jay Z is a co-owner of music streaming service Tidal, along with a dozen or so other high profile artists.
A tweet from Spotify confirms Jay Z's music "has been removed at the request of the artist".
Spotify reported that Jay-Z had majority of his inventory expelled from their platform.
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In January, Tidal sold a 33 percent stake in the company to Sprint for $200 million, giving it access to the telecom company's 45 million customers. Last year, his Blueprint series was removed, but this is the first wholesale takedown.
We'll have to wait and see if this is a temporary removal or a move on Jay Z's part to lure more users to Tidal and in turn take control over where his music is offered.
One difference in the services that may have led Jay Z to remove the titles from Spotify and not Apple is Spotify's ad-based freemium tier which pays artists less in royalties than the subscription tier. Assuming Kanye West is a reliable source, it's likely that's exactly why his music isn't available for streaming on the two services. For practical purposes, that means the only real difference between Tidal and Apple Music and Spotify are exclusive streaming deals.