New Tidal subscribers were locked out of streaming Jay-Z’s ‘4:44’ album

Jay-Z Tidal 4:44
It’s been something of a difficult year for artists releasing new content via Tidal. Jay-Z’s new album 4:44 went live on the platform on June 30, but to the surprise of new subscribers, the album was locked, accessible only to existing subscribers and Sprint customers.

Ironically, fans who had signed up for free trials of the premium streaming service specifically to listen to 4:44 found out that they were able to listen to everything else on Tidal — except Jay-Z’s latest.

The confusion was brought on by Tidal’s lack of transparency regarding the album’s availability; non-subscribers visiting Tidal’s website saw a player with song snippets from 4:44 and a link to “try Tidal now,” which led many to believe signing up would grant access to the full album.

On Monday, the album — available exclusively via Tidal for a week, after which it will appear on multiple streaming services — was made available to all Tidal subscribers. Current Sprint customers and those who sign up for Sprint are currently eligible to receive six free months of Tidal hi-fi.

This is not the first hiccup that Tidal has experienced when it comes to album releases. In 2016, Kanye West’s intended release for The Life of Pablo went awry (though it wasn’t necessarily Tidal’s fault, as West is notorious for changing his mind on such matters), as the album appeared for sale on Tidal before mysteriously disappearing. West made some pretty definitive claims about the album’s Tidal exclusivity, then frustrated fans by turning around and releasing TLOP on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music. Sources estimated that the botched release cost West upward of $10 million.

In March, the service accidentally made Rihanna’s Anti available for streaming ahead of its intended drop date, after which the singer went ahead and made the release official.

In addition to the album, which has received positive reviews for Jay-Z’s willingness to tackle controversial topics in tracks like 4:44 and Smile, the veteran rapper has offered fans a “visual” — a music video of sorts, but not the kind you’re used to — called “Footnotes” for The Story of O.J., featuring several prominent black celebrities speaking about race relations and injustice.

Earlier this year, Sprint acquired one-third of the streaming platform, valued at $200 million.

Movies & TV

From Big Daddy to Murder Mystery, these are Adam Sandler’s best movies

Adam Sandler has gone from being a Saturday Night Live star to one of the biggest forces in comedy, having both produced and starred in a long list of hit movies over the last 30 years. Here's a ranking of his 10 best films to date.
Movies & TV

Jon Favreau already working on The Mandalorian's second season for Disney+

Disney is bringing the full weight of its massive content library to its own streaming service in 2019. How will Disney+ compare to Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime? Here's what we know so far.
Home Theater

Walmart’s got the Google Home Max for $249 just in time for Prime Day

Not to be outdone by Amazon's Prime Day shopping bonanza, Walmart has a few deals of its own -- one of the best is the Google Home Max smart speaker, at $150 off its regular price.
Movies & TV

HBO Max vs. Netflix: A very early look at how Warner’s new streamer stacks up

On one hand, Max will have Friends, J.J. Abrams, and Game of Thrones. Then again, Netflix is Netflix. Will WarnerMedia's upcoming streaming service offer enough to earn your money? We take an early look to help you decide.

Optimize your new Apple AirPods with these tips and tricks

Here are some tips, tricks, and lesser-known features from Apple's first pair of fully wireless earbuds, allowing you to get the most out of the company's world of cordless sound.

Klipsch T5 True Wireless vs. Beats Powerbeats Pro: Battle of the premium earbuds

The Klipsch T5 True Wireless offer many of the same features as the Beats Powerbeats Pro, but at a significantly reduced price tag. Which pair of wireless earbuds is better for you? Let's find out.

The humble cassette player gets a modern-day makeover, sort of

If you've been wondering what it was like to live in the 80s, or want to experience for yourself the joys of owning a portable cassette player, then this modern-day effort from Ninm Lab may be of interest.

Don’t let spotty Wi-Fi keep you from Spotify. Here's how to download your songs

Did you know you can download up to 3,333 songs on your device with Spotify Premium? The process is incredibly straightforward, too, and literally takes seconds. Here's how to do it.
Home Theater

Sony aims shrink ray at noise-canceling headphones with its WF-1000XM3 earbuds

Sony has announced its latest pair of true wireless headphones, taking a shrink ray to the same excellent noise-canceling technology in its over-ear WH-1000XM3 to create the new WF-1000XM3 model.

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

Finding music that is both free and legal to download can be difficult. We've hand-picked a selection of the best free music download sites for you to legally download your next favorite album.

JBL Charge 3 waterproof Bluetooth speaker now 40% off ahead of Amazon Prime Day

Prime Day may still be a few days away, but there are already plenty of deals to be found on electronics all across Amazon, including that perfect summer speaker, like the JBL Charge 3 waterproof Bluetooth speaker, now just $90.

Apple Music vs. Spotify: Which service is the streaming king?

Apple Music is giving Spotify a run for its money, but which service is best for you? In our Apple Music vs. Spotify showdown, we compare and contrast all we know about the two streaming music services.

How to watch Taylor Swift’s blockbuster Amazon Prime Day concert tonight

Amazon plans to celebrate its first 48-hour Prime Day sale with a blockbuster concert featuring Taylor Swift, Dua Lipa, Becky G., and Sza on Wednesday, July 10 -- and Prime members can watch the whole thing live.

The best new music this week: Blood Orange, Floating Points, and more

Looking for the best new music? Each week, we find the most compelling new releases just for you. This week: New albums from Blood Orange, Floating Points, and Tycho with Saint Sinner.