The rapper's 1996 debut Reasonable Doubt is no longer available in the US and Canada although the rest of his catalogue currently is, and it remains unknown whether he plans to “do a Taylor Swift” and remove all his songs. The album can currently still be streamed in all other territories, including the UK.
Tidal is backed by a host of high profile artists including Madonna, Kanye West, Beyonce, Daft Punk, Nicki Minaj, Alicia Keys, Rihanna and Deadmau5. Beyonce and Rihanna both released exclusive music on the service over the weekend in a bit to entice new subscribers.
Jay Z owns his record label Rocnation and as such, is free to distribute his tracks as he pleases. Most musicians do not have this liberty, making it unlikely that other Tidal backers' songs will disappear from Spotify in the foreseeable future.
Jay Z insists that he does not intend to “sink” Spotify with Tidal, but “strike an honest blow” and shape the music industry to better benefit both artists and fans.
“I know everyone thinks ”new company, main business competitor is Spotify“ but we're really not here to compete with anyone, we're actually here to improve the landscape,” he said at a Tidal Q&A at the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.
“If just the presence of Tidal causes other companies to have better pay structure, or to pay more attention to it moving forward, then we've been successful in one way. So we don't really view them as competitors. As the tide rises, all the boats rise.”
Musicians against Spotify
Musicians against Spotify
1/10 Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift does not what her work to be used as an 'experiment' by Spotify and believes that artists are treated unfairly. She withdrew her entire catalogue in November 2014.
2/10 Thom Yorke
The Radiohead frontman famously described Spotify as 'the last desperate fart of a dying corpse' in October 2013.
3/10 David Byrne
David Byrne of Talking Heads wrote about not understanding Spotify's claim of discovery in a Guardian op-ed. 'The inevitable result would seem to be that the internet will suck the creative content out of the whole world until nothing is left,' he said.
Beck dismissed the Spotify model as 'not working' because of how little it pays musicians. He added that the 'saddest thing' about streaming is the poor sound quality - 'It's like watching Citizen Kane on your phone'.
5/10 The Black Keys
Dan Auerbach has described Spotify's payment to artists as 'so minuscule it's laughable'. 'If you are a bigger band that's already known and you rely on record sales for a living then it's really no place to be,' he said.
6/10 Atoms for Peace
Thom Yorke's other band refused to let Spotify stream their songs. Nigel Godrich from the group described the service as 'an equation that just doesn't work'. 'Small labels and new artists can't even keep their lights on. It's just not right,' he said.
7/10 Yannis Philippakis
The Foals singer said he would rather that somebody stole his record on vinyl than bought it or streamed it on Spotify. He described using Spotify as like going to a top class restaurant and leaving only coppers without paying the bill.
8/10 Aimee Mann
The US singer-songwriter has not put her music on Spotify because she does not think artists make a fair amount of money from the streaming service.
9/10 Grizzly Bear
The band tweeted in 2012 that Spotify provides a great service for people but does as much to help bands as 'downloading from Limewire'.
10/10 Jason Isbell
Jason Isbell of Drive-By Truckers has used the single word 'evil' to describe Spotify.
Spotify is staying silent on Jay Z's decision to remove Reasonable Doubt but promises to “keep working with every artist to ensure all your favourite music is on Spotify”. Rocnation is yet to respond to our request for comment.
Interestingly, Taylor Swift’s albums, with the exception of 1989, have appeared on Tidal. Swift said last year that she was “not willing to contribute my life’s work to an experiment [Spotify] that I don’t feel fairly compensates the writers, producers, artists and creators of music”.