Jay Z pulls albums from Apple Music and Spotify

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As the streaming music war intensifies, hip hop star and Tidal co-owner Jay Z is quietly removing his music from major streaming music outlets Apple Music and Spotify, while leaving the same tracks in place on his own service.

While Jay Z has yet to publicly confirm the move, spotted by MacRumors, a bulk of the artist's solo work is no longer available for streaming on Tidal competitors Apple Music or Spotify. Other services, including Google Play Music and SoundCloud Go+, have yet to be affected by the takedown.

Currently, Apple Music and Spotify users in the U.S. have access to a handful of collaborations including the DJ Khaled single "Shining," which also features Beyonc´e. Compared to Apple Music, Spotify appears to have a few more tracks available, though these may also disappear in the near future as the streaming service confirmed Jay Z's takedown to Engadget on Friday, saying, "some of his catalog has been removed at the request of the artist."

At the moment, Apple Music users accessing the service in the UK can still stream Jay Z's Reasonable Doubt, Hard Knock Life, In My Lifetime, Collision Course and the collaborative Watch the Throne album, though other works have been pulled.

Jay Z entered the streaming music game in 2015 with the purchase of Tidal and its Swedish parent company Aspiro. Since its relaunch in mid-2015, Tidal has survived on an aggressive business model built on segmenting the streaming market with artist exclusives.

Prince, for example, yanked his music from all services save for Tidal in July 2015. The Purple One's Warner Brother's ultimately returned to Apple Music and other streaming services in February, some ten months after his death.

Kanye West, a minority stake holder in Tidal, released his album Life of Pablo as a Tidal exclusive last year, saying the tracks would never arrive on Apple Music or iTunes. Life of Pablo is currently available for streaming on Apple Music.

Apple Music and Spotify also compete on exclusives with windowed releases, usually hotly anticipated albums from top artists that are offered during a period of exclusivity ranging from weeks to months. Outright restrictions, however, are apparently not part of those service's respective strategies.

Tidal is under pressure to perform against stiff competition from established industry heavyweights. In January, Sprint purchased 33 percent of Tidal in a deal that promised customers of the wireless service "exclusive artist content."

Streaming services are quickly becoming the de facto standard in music distribution. In 2016, subscription services like Apple Music, Spotify and Pandora helped drive the music industry's biggest gain since 1998, according to a recent report from the Recording Industry Association of America. Importantly, streaming platforms generated a majority of American revenues, a first for the digital model.


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