For quite some time, Jay-Z has kept his back catalog, including fan favorite The Blueprint and his 2004 “farewell” project, The Black Album, exclusive to his Tidal streaming platform, likely as a way to generate subscriptions and streaming revenue from his own home base. However, it appears that the business, man has finally relented, opening up his discography to Apple Music — with one exception.
In the wee hours of the morning, some fans began noting that their Apple Music catalogs now included such albums as Vol. 2… Hard Knock Life, American Gangster, and Watch The Throne. However, there was one album still missing from the collection: Jay’s seminal, 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt, which first established him as a force in mafioso rap and which he once declared a “classic” that “should have went triple” platinum. It looks like it won’t be getting a sales boost from Apple streams just yet, though.
The move may signal a shift away from the days of exclusivity deals, which were once all the rage for top musicians like Beyonce, Chance The Rapper, and Drake, who all released at least one album exclusively to one of the big three platforms (Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal). However, while the strategy has been known to temporarily juice subscriptions, it appears most listeners still have their favorite app to use and return to it consistently, sometimes before exclusivity period of albums is even over. Beyonce recently released her live album, Homecoming, to all platforms after her previous project, Lemonade, released solely to Tidal in 2016, while Drake returned to the wide release strategy around that time.
Unfortunately for Spotify subscribers, Jay’s catalog still isn’t available on that platform yet, but if he’s willing to play nice with Apple, Spotify can’t be far behind. Check out Jay on Apple Music here.