Have you noticed that your Spotify searches for your favorite Jay-Z track have been coming up empty? That’s because world famous rapper and entrepreneur Jay-Z has quietly pulled all three of his Blueprint albums (2001’s The Blueprint, 2002’s The Blueprint 2, and 2009’s The Blueprint 3) from all streaming services over the past few months — except for Tidal.
The musician had previously only removed his cult classic debut album, Reasonable Doubt, from other streamers. The move shouldn’t exactly be a shocker to die-hard Jay-Z fans; The Brooklyn-based rapper owns a significant portion of Tidal, and has been one of its most prominent public proponents.
Tidal launched in March 2015 with higher quality audio and the promise of bigger royalty payments for artists, but the service has been marred by controversy from the get-go. Multiple members of the musical glitterati stood alongside Tidal as an “artist owned” streaming service promising more pay for artists, but the star-studded gala seemed to only turn people off in the process. Most recently, Tidal accidentally released Rihanna’s latest record, Anti, early, and was the vehicle for a seriously botched release of Kanye West’s latest album.
Originally valued at nearly $250 million, Tidal currently sits somewhere closer to $100 million in net worth. Jay-Z has likely been receiving pressure from those inside the company to go Tidal-exclusive, with the hope that he, like West and Rihanna, can help drive more users to subscribe.
That may be a short term band-aid for the service, but it’s not likely to contribute to its subscriber numbers in any sort of groundbreaking way. Like the service’s launch party, hosting exclusive music from within the family seems to be another turnoff to listeners looking for the kind of inclusive simplicity that comes with a service like Spotify.
While other streaming services may be upset about the loss of material, they aren’t exactly climbing over themselves to get it back. It would seem most subscribers didn’t notice the material went missing, and the majority of Jay-Z’s back catalog is still available to stream on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon, among others.
“Jay Z’s Blueprint albums have not been available on any streaming service except Tidal for a few months now,” said a spokesperson from Spotify to Pitchfork, “We hope he brings them back soon so that his millions of fans on Spotify can enjoy them again.”