Jay Z's new '4:44' album exclusive to Tidal and Sprint users

Are you a big fan of Jay Z? You better not be a big fan of Spotify, Apple Music, AT&T or Verizon.

Tidal is way behind on subscribers compared to Spotify and Apple Music, but company head Jay Z has a secret weapon to turn the tide: Jay Z.

The rapper's 13th album, "4:44," will be release on June 30 exclusively on Tidal. Spotify and Apple Music subscribers are out of luck. Sprint users, however, are in luck, as new and existing customers will get access to the album through six months of free Tidal HiFi membership.  

You can chalk that partnership up to Sprint in January buying a 33 percent stake in Tidal. It was yet another move by a US wireless carrier to set itself apart in a ferocious competition for users, with things like unlimited-data offers, holiday promotions and promises of imminent 5G service. Sprint in recent months seems to have found a groove, logging increases in subscriber numbers.

Jay Z isn't new to linking the worlds of music and tech. His previous album, 2013's "Magna Carter Holy Grail," was made free to anyone who bought a Samsung Galaxy S3, S4 or Note 2. Meanwhile, his protege Kanye West made his most recent album, "The Life of Pablo," exclusive to Tidal for around six weeks before it hit Spotify, Apple Music and Google Play Music

Tidal last year claimed it had 3 million subscribers, 45 percent of which have signed up to the high-fidelity, $19.99 option, according to Billboard. That number is likely much bigger now, as Sprint's 45 million users gained access to the service back in January. Spotify is still king though, with 50 million paid subscribers. Apple Music sits at an impressive 27 million.

Batteries Not Included: The CNET team shares experiences that remind us why tech stuff is cool.

CNET Magazine: Check out a sampling of the stories you'll find in CNET's newsstand edition.

Close
Drag
Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF