Just after midnight on Monday, Jay Z capped two weeks of online and billboard teasers involving “4:44” and confirmed that it is the title of his new album, out June 30 and available exclusively to Sprint customers and existing Tidal subscribers. The rapper released a snippet of a new song called “Adnis” earlier on Sunday evening.
The album is the first major project involving Tidal and Sprint, which acquired 33 percent of the streaming service in a $200 million deal in January.
A detailed press release (reproduced in part below) explains the project and partnership, which will require fans to subscribe to Tidal or Sprint in order to acquire the album legally; Sprint customers can receive a free six-month Tidal trial subscription. At press time, a rep for Jay Z had not responded to Variety‘s question about when or whether the album will be available on other streaming services or for purchase as a download or physical product.
The move is somewhat reminiscent of the release of both Jay Z’s 2013 album “Magna Carta Holy Grail” — which, as part of an estimated $20 million deal between Jay’s Roc Nation company and Samsung, saw 1 million owners of Galaxy devices receive the album for free, three days before its wide release — and Beyonce’s 2016 album “Lemonade,” which is available for streaming only on Tidal. However, both of those albums are available at retail as downloads and physical product; there is currently no indication that will be the case with “4:44,” although it seems very likely at some point.
The length of time the album will be a Tidal exclusive will have a dramatic effect on its chart success. Limiting Beyonce’s “Lemonade” to Tidal took a significant bite out of that album’s chart performance: While Tidal has claimed as many as 3 million paying subscribers, a January report in a Norwegian publication claimed to cite company reports to labels as saying it had just 800,000 subscribers and 1.2 million active users. By contrast, Spotify, the No. 1 streaming service in the U.S., claimed last week to have passed 140 global users and in March said it had reached 50 million paying subscribers; its closest competitor, Apple Music, announced earlier this month that it had passed the 27-million subscriber mark.
Jay Z’s official album announcement is just the latest news spike in an extremely hectic two weeks for the veteran MC, which in addition to the elaborate “4:44” campaign saw the birth of his and Beyonce’s twins (according to reports), his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (the ceremony for which he did not attend, presumably because of the twins’ births), and his announcement via an op-ed for Time that he intends to help provide bail money for incarcerated dads on Fathers’ Day.
In a peripheral note, all Tidal communications about Jay Z in the past 24 hours included a hyphen in his name, which he officially removed in 2013.
JUNE 30, 2017
NEW ALBUM EXCLUSIVE TO SPRINT CUSTOMERS AND EXISTING TIDAL MEMBERS
NEW YORK and OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – June 19, 2017 – On the heels of announcing a first-of-its-kind partnership and offer, global music and entertainment platform TIDAL and Sprint (NYSE: S) are excited to share JAY-Z’s new album, 4:44 – the first in a series of exclusives offered to the 45 million postpaid and prepaid Sprint customers and existing TIDAL members.
What: New Album – 4:44
When: 12:01 a.m. ET Friday, June 30
How: New and existing Sprint customers can take advantage of the complimentary six-month trial of TIDAL HiFi at Sprint.TIDAL.com or by visiting a Sprint store.1 New Boost Mobile customers can subscribe during the activation process in-store or online at boostmobile.com. Existing customers can add the monthly subscription online via My Account (web and smartphone), in store, or by phone. New TIDAL members worldwide can visit TIDAL.com/Try-now.
“Today is an exciting day to be a Sprint customer,” said Marcelo Claure, Sprint president and CEO. “JAY-Z is a global icon and we’re giving customers an incredible opportunity to be among the first to experience his new album 4:44. Our loyal, existing customers, and customers who switch to Sprint, can experience the album exclusively, plus access a complimentary six-month trial of TIDAL HiFi, giving them access to content they can’t get anywhere else.”
Where: In the U.S, new and existing Sprint customers can visit Sprint.TIDAL.com, while existing TIDAL members can visit TIDAL.com. Outside of the U.S, new TIDAL members can visit TIDAL.com/Try-now to sign up.
More info: In addition, the TIDAL and Sprint partnership will support the 1Million Project, an initiative from Sprint and the Sprint Foundation that will connect 1 million low-income U.S. high school students who don’t have internet access at home to help level the playing field and eliminate the “homework gap.” Participating students will receive free mobile devices and free high-speed wireless internet connectivity while in high school for up to four years. Sprint will donate $2 from every new line activation with a device purchase or lease – up to $1 million – to support the 1Million Project.3 For more information about Sprint’s initiative to equip high school students with the tools they need to succeed, visit sprint.com/1millionproject.
1 After 6 months, pay $9.99/mo. for Tidal Premium. Sprint plan sold separately.
2 Via Prepaid Rewards Card (less phone trade-in credit provided) after online registration and new phone activation. Amount based on early termination fee charged or remaining phone balance. Prepaid Card: is issued by MetaBank®.
3 From June 9 to Dec. 9, Sprint will donate $2 to the Sprint Foundation in connection with the purchase or lease of any Android or iOS phone with the activation of a new line of service, with a maximum donation of $1 million. For more information, visithttp://goodworks.sprint.com/content/1022/files/SprintTidal1MPInfoFINAL.pdf.