It could be an expensive protest of the streaming service’s free tier, according to experts.
After releasing 4:44 and exclusive to Tidal and Sprint customers for one week, Jay-Z shared his 13th studio album across all platforms — with the curious exception of Spotify. As the world’s leading streaming service, it was clear that Jay’s decision to withhold the album from Spotify would be a financial sacrifice, and a new report from Billboard has provided some estimates on just how much money the rapper has opted out of.
An industry source suggests that Jay would potentially make up to $1 million in his debut week on Spotify, even if he were to upload it three weeks after release. The estimate is based on Drake’s album VIEWS, which saw a massive spike in streams when it made its way to Spotify after being hosted exclusively be Apple Music for one week. However, another source is not as set on Jay breaking six figures, projecting that his debut on Spotify would generate somewhere around $250,000 in its first week. It’s built on the assumption that the full album would earn as many weekly streams as the service’s most popular song, Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito” remix with Justin Bieber.
The sources believe that Jay Z’s decision to keep his music off Spotify while shipping it to fellow Tidal competitor Apple Music is a protest against the free streaming tier. Spotify is the only service of the big 3 that offers subscribers the option to listen to music for free, as long as they are willing to sit through a few ads. The sources suspect that Jay feels a free tier of streaming works towards “devaluing music.” Jay-Z has not given an official statement on his reasoning behind the decision.