On Saturday, Beyoncé pulled a quick one on adoring fans, once again, when she released a surprise album, EVERYTHING IS LOVE, with her husband Jay-Z after their dual-performance in London. Members of the Beyhive were obviously over the moon, except there was a catch… you could only get the new album on the streaming service Tidal, of which Jay-Z is part owner.
Fans of the couple have already endured jumping through the hoops of Tidal exclusives to listen to their music. Lemonade is still a TIDAL streaming exclusive, along with Jay-Z’s 4:44.
In the past, Beyoncé has been brazen about her choice to keep Lemonade off rival streaming services. On her “Nice” verse she sings “Patiently waiting for my demise / ‘cause my success can’t be quantified / If I gave two fucks about streaming numbers / would have put Lemonade up on Spotify.” Branded in 2015 as an artist-owned cooperative, TIDAL hasn’t seen the commercial success that Apple Music and Spotify have, but it has had the advantage of exclusive content from some of the world’s most in-demand artists. But now, some are getting fed up.
Internet users were quick to express their frustration. Some created twitter memes, while Snoop Dogg took to Instagram.
Just two days after its TIDAL release, EVERYTHING IS LOVE was quietly added to Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. There’s still one TIDAL-exclusive track, but it’s unlikely that anyone will pay a monthly subscription fee just to listen to it.
Whether Bey and Jay will pull a Taylor and swiftly (ha!) upload their discography to Spotify remains to be seen.
The move comes after other artists have criticized the company. Kanye West ended his contract with the service, alleging the company owes him $3 million in payments.
One of the most confounding things about TIDAL — because, for the most part, it seems like a good idea — is the high price tag for premium features. For just $20 a month, you too can listen to high-fidelity sound! This doesn’t mean much, unless you have awesome, equally expensive headphones. But 30,000 people are subscribed to the model, and that’s impressed music industry executives. In my corner, I’m laughing, because the rest of my peers and I can’t afford Netflix or college, let alone music that’s supposed to sound “better.”
Beyoncé and Jay-Z have a powerful fan base, make incredible music, and are worth over a billion dollars and counting. EVERYTHING IS LOVE is a guaranteed success, but TIDAL is seemingly still up in the air.