UPDATED: Two Beyonce albums of old material briefly leaked onto Spotify and Apple Music late Thursday and were quickly removed, according to multiple news reports. Representatives for Beyoncé, her label Columbia, its parent company Sony Music, Apple Music and Spotify either declined comment or did not immediately respond to Variety’s requests for comment.
The two albums — titled “Have Your Way” and “Back Up, Rewind” — appeared under the name Queen Carter and featured demos, previously released songs and unreleased tracks by the singer. The 10-song “Have Your Way” includes “After All Is Said and Done,” a 1999 duet with Marc Nelson from the “Best Man” soundtrack; “Hollywood,” a song with Jay-Z from his 2006 album, “Kingdom Come”; and “Hey Goldmember” from the soundtrack for 2002′s Beyonce-starring “Austin Powers in Goldmember”; “Crazy Feelings,” a collaboration from Missy Elliott’s sophomore album “Da Real World”; and a cover of the “Fever,” a cover of the ’50′s hit made famous by Brenda Lee. Meanwhile, “Back Up, Rewind,” featured 11 tracks including “Keep Giving Your Love to Me,” from the “Bad Boys II” soundtrack and “What It’s Gonna Be,” a bonus track from 2003.
Beyonce has become renowned for surprise releases — both her self-titled 2013 effort and this year’s collaboration with husband Jay-Z, “Everything Is Love,” were released without advance notice — but these albums appear to be unauthorized. While they are thorough compilations of tracks from across the singer’s career that are not featured on Beyonce’s own albums, judging by a screen grab from Spotify, their cover artwork is uncharacteristic and below the singer’s usual high standards.
It is not uncommon for unauthorized releases to appear on streaming services — for example, a few Velvet Underground live bootlegs that managed to skirt copyright laws in some European countries were briefly available on Spotify several years ago, and managers holding rights to an artist’s very early recordings often issue them without the performer’s consent — yet such a situation involving major-label material from a global superstar is rare. However, the fact that the album was listed under the artist name Queen Carter — similar to “Everything Is Love” being billed to The Carters — is likely what enabled it to slip through on the streaming services. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek said during the company’s “Investor Day” early this year that the platform ingests upward of 20,000 new releases per day.
On a similar note, earlier this month a collection of nine unfinished 2015 material by R&B singer SZA called “Comethru” appeared on Spotify under the name Sister Solana (her real name is Solana Rowe). The singer took to social media to explain, calling the project “random scratches from 2015 — def not new new!,” adding “But…creative? And Scary?” and promising genuinely new music is coming soon. Punch, from her label TDE, also posted, “Old songs were stolen and leaked. We are currently fixing the issue. Please feel free to continue enjoying Ctrl until the next album is ready.”
At press time those songs had been removed from Spotify, although icons for them remained.