Spotify Ltd. said it has pulled most of the catalog of Jay Z from its streaming service at the request of the rapper, who owns rival music service Tidal.
None of Jay Z’s 12 studio albums were available on Spotify as of Saturday, leaving only ones collaborated with R&B singer R. Kelly listed on his profile. Jay Z has been a vocal critic of online music services for not properly compensating artists. He acquired Tidal in 2014 to give his peers a greater share of the proceeds from streaming services, which now account for more than half of all U.S. record industry sales.
During an elaborate presentation in 2015, he introduced fellow artists such as Rihanna and Alicia Keys as co-owners. Representatives for Jay Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, and Tidal didn’t respond to requests for comment about the latest move.
The growing number of paying subscribers for services has boosted music industry sales for two years in a row. Spotify is the market leader with 50 million paying subscribers. Yet more than half of its users listen for free, a source of tension with artist and record labels. Taylor Swift’s latest album isn’t available on Spotify because the service declined to limit it to paying customers.
Under a new deal with Universal Music Group, the world’s largest record label, artists will be able to limit new releases to the paid tier for two weeks. Several of Jay Z’s co-owners and frequent collaborators have released music exclusively on Tidal for brief windows before making them available elsewhere. Those brought attention to the service, though it still has far fewer subscribers than Spotify or Apple Music.
Some but not all of Jay Z’s albums were available on Apple Music, the second-largest paid streaming music service after Spotify. The latest move by the rapper comes as Spotify is said to weigh a public listing.