Here’s Why Sprint Customers Will Get First Dibs on Jay Z’s New Album
Jay Z’s new album will come out on June 30, and a lot more people will have access to the “exclusive” release than four years ago with the music star’s previous big record drop.
The new album, called 4:44, will be available to all Sprint customers—almost 60 million people—under a deal between Jay Z’s streaming music service, Tidal, and the wireless carrier. Sprint, which invested $200 million in Tidal in January, is also giving customers a six-month free trial to the music service.
Sprint said when it made the investment that it would carry special deals from Tidal, which has made it name with exclusive initial releases from artists including Beyonce and Kanye West. “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,” Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said in a statement.
In July 2013, Jay Z’s last album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, was released as a free download for the first 1 million Samsung customers who owned a Galaxy S III, Galaxy S4, or Galaxy Note II. The album went on sale three days later.
The new album is part of a movie that will also be exclusive for Tidal customers, also called 4:44. It stars Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong’o, and Danny Glover.
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For Sprint, the fourth-largest wireless carrier, the link with Tidal helps it keep up with the media and entertainment offerings of larger carriers AT&T (T) and Verizon (VZ), which have invested in their own mobile content plays, while T-Mobile (TMUS) has not. CEO Claure also joined Tidal’s board,
Tidal last year said it had hit 3 million subscribers after 12 months in operation, trailing far behind Spotify’s 50 million paying subscribers through March and Apple’s (AAPL) 27 million subscriber base as of a few weeks ago.
However, an investigation published by Norwegian business daily Dagens Næringsliv alleged that Tidal had overstated its subscriber numbers and had closer to 1.2 million paying users.
Sprint (S) didn’t say how long the exclusive would last.