Beyoncé does not play favorites, even with a company owned by her husband, Jay Z, and where she is a part-owner. After Saturday's showstopping "Lemonade" special on HBO, the new album became available for streaming or purchase on Tidal, but it will be available for purchase on iTunes at midnight, the New York Times reported.
Spokespeople from Apple and Beyoncé did not comment on the report based on two unnamed sources. While fans may be able to purchase "Lemonade" on iTunes very soon, streaming may not be happening right away. Another report from the Verge indicates Beyoncé's new album will stream exclusively on Tidal forever.
The music service owned by a collective of artists, has championed exclusive releases from its part-owners such as Rihanna and Kanye West to bolster subscription numbers. While Tidal is a better deal for artists, its 3 million subscribers can't compete with the over 30 million Spotify users and 11 million Apple Music subscribers.
If the 24-hour purchasing exclusivity ends, it will be the shortest window yet for Tidal. Rihanna's highly anticipated "Anti," her first new album since 2012, was a Tidal exclusive for a week. "Anti" was streamed 13 million times within 14 hours of its release. Kanye West's "The Life of Pablo" was a Tidal exclusive for two months before appearing on other services. In the wake of Prince's death, music fans turned to their preferred streaming service to find a red Corvette-sized hole for the artist. Prince, notoriously protective of his work, signed an exclusive streaming deal with Tidal.
The exclusivity deal has been an effective part of Tidal's growth strategy. Of the 3 million subscribers, 45 percent pay $20 a month for high-fidelity audio. Since Tidal's rollout in 2015, it went from 770,000 subscribers in April 2015 to 1 million in October. From October to March 2016, Tidal subscribers have tripled to 3 million.
It remains to be seen if Tidal can continue to rely on highly anticipated exclusives to drive subscribers or if a window similar to "Lemonade" becomes the norm. Another factor to consider is the singular phenomenon that is a new Beyoncé album, which could have forced such a short time period due to overwhelming demand. A streaming, but not purchasing, exclusivity could be a perfect compromise.