When 4:44 was released last week, it came in the form of the Tidal exclusive — the type of major release (like that of Kanye’s The Life of Pablo — whose Tidal exclusivity Kanye now seems to regret) so enticing as to bring new subscribers to JAY-Z’s/Sprint’s service with the promise of, say, a mere week of listening to an album before other people. But now, whatever streaming service you might for some reason be loyal to, you’ll be happy to know that you can now listen to Jay-Z’s 4:44 on it — unless it’s Spotify, that is. It’s there on Apple Music/iTunes, it’s there on Google Play Music, and it’s there on Amazon Music, but you won’t find it on Spotify, which Thom Yorke once described as “the last desperate fart of a dying corpse,” (it’s a very long, resilient, all-encompassing fart, it seems) and which had long been a least-favorite among many artists for its simultaneous ad-based free service and premium service. (A problem that it seems like Spotify has worked with Universal to amend.)
Spotify also happens to still be the widest-used streaming service, with about 140 million users (as opposed to Tidal’s estimated 1 million) — all of whom don’t have access to JAY-Z’s catalogue, as he removed it from Spotify back in April. You can see where the rapper/entrepreneur’s strategy might be herein, from a business perspective. And business, indeed, was a huge part of the way the album was rolled out: the exclusive itself even more exclusive than it sounds — as it was only for people who’d purchased Tidal prior to July 26. If you’d subscribed afterwards, you also had to sign up for a Sprint promotion to stream the album last week. However, as 4:44 has been unveiled for non-Tidal users, it’s now available to all Tidal users as well.