Did he lie or didn’t he lie? We’ll let you be the judge. Hip-hop superstar Kanye West has finally brought his “Life of Pablo” album to music services beyond Tidal, almost two months after he seemingly claimed that he never would.
The album is available to stream today on Spotify, Google Play Music and Apple Music, while also available to download and own through Kanye West’s website. This sits in stark contrast to the picture the artist tried to paint back in February, when West said that his album will “never never be on Apple” and “it will never be for sale” and “You can only get it on Tidal.”
My album will never never never be on Apple. And it will never be for sale… You can only get it on Tidal.
— KANYE WEST (@kanyewest) February 15, 2016
Some of those words are open for interpretation. “Never be on Apple,” when juxtaposed against the line that followed (“never be for sale”) could be construed as West saying that the album would never be on iTunes. Which it still isn’t. And “you can only get it on Tidal” reads like the present tense, meaning “at the time of writing.” But it’s clear that the impression West was trying to give was: “If you want to listen to my new album, you’ll need to sign up to Tidal because it will never be available anywhere else.”
Tidal, of course, is the Jay Z-owned “quality-streaming” service that many of the top artists have backed in the fight to reclaim control of their music.
What’s clearer than ever, however, is that Tidal is betting on big-name exclusives to entice people to sign up beyond the free trial. And that may indeed work, given that most people are probably “platform agnostic” when it comes to music-streaming services. But what’s also clear is that the stars of the music world simply can’t ignore Tidal’s competition.
Spotify now has some 30 million paying subscribers out of around 80 million total users, Apple Music is growing fast, and Google is, well, Google. While it’s all very well giving Tidal exclusive access to music for a time, making misleading or false claims on Twitter to try to boost user numbers probably isn’t the best tactic in the long-term. The next time West or any other artist tries to claim that Tidal will be the only way to access an album, fans will take their words with a pinch of salt.