Shortly after Beyonce’s one-hour HBO special aired Saturday night (April 23), her sixth studio album, Lemonade, became available to stream exclusively on Tidal. It’s the latest in a string of high-profile exclusives for the nascent company. And while other exclusive album releases on streaming services such as Apple Music have lasted either 24 hours or one week, Tidal doesn’t have the same history.
Which leaves the question: How long will Tidal be the only (legal) place fans will be able to find Beyonce’s Lemonade? Sources close to the situation tell Billboard that Tidal will have the streaming exclusive “in perpetuity,” suggesting that the album will never be available to stream via Tidal’s biggest competitors, Spotify and Apple Music. (Update: at 5:20 p.m., a Tidal rep officially confirmed the service will be the only streamer that will carry Lemonade.)
As for a retail release, Tidal made Lemonade available for sale at 3:30 p.m. today (April 24) via Beyonce.Tidal.com priced at $17.99. That includes the 12 songs and videos — the “visual album,” as the company is calling it — as well as the full version of the HBO special that aired last night. But for Beyonce to land her sixth straight No. 1 album on the Billboard 200, the album’s availability in digital outlets like the iTunes Store within the week seems inevitable; sources tell Billboard that Tidal’s download exclusive for Lemonade will end at 10 p.m. tonight, after which it will become available via iTunes, Amazon and Google Play. Reps for Tidal declined to comment, while a request for comment from Beyonce’s team went unreturned as of press time.
Rihanna‘s Anti streamed exclusively on Tidal for its first week, but went live to digital retailers 24 hours after its release, and included one million free copies distributed through a deal with Samsung. Kanye West‘s The Life of Pablo — initially intended as a one-week exclusive, before West continued to hold it back — eventually existed as a Tidal-only stream for a full six weeks before its eventual wide release, with West’s camp refusing to report streaming numbers during the exclusive window.
But it’s likely that the digital retail release of Lemonade will more closely follow the Rihanna rollout — becoming available for sale widely in the coming days — rather than West’s, which is still only available to purchase via Tidal or West’s own website.
The Lemonade rollout is the latest successful exclusive release for Tidal, which struggled for much of its first year since its grandiose launch March 30, 2015. Since last October, when the service held a star-studded concert in Brooklyn to celebrate passing one million paid subscribers, its exclusives have helped its subscriber numbers to surge to three million, according to statistics release by Tidal.
And it’s likely that Lemonade isn’t the only boon for Tidal in the past week; Prince‘s untimely death on April 21 sent many fans to the service, which is the only streamer with access to his extensive catalog.
As of press time, a rep for Tidal declined to comment on any boost in new subscribers since Prince’s death. The app currently sits at No. 4 in the iTunes App Store.