4:44 and the Evolution of Streaming

Written by Gabriel Al-Shaer.


If you’ve been paying attention to the hip hop world at all over the past several months then there’s no doubt you’ve heard about Jay-Z’s new album, “4:44.” The new album was available only through Tidal for the first week, but illegal torrenting seemed to be kept at a minimum. This was a drastic improvement from Tidal’s last release, “The Life of Pablo”, which remains the most torrented album of all time.  Jay-Z and co accomplished this feat through several smart strategies.
4:44 was initially free all Sunday of it’s release through a Tidal-directed url. All customers had to do was enter their e-mail and the voucher code “SPRINT” and they received the free download. The full album was also broadcast on numerous iHeartRadio stations the day of it’s release, helping it to reach a wider audience. Finally, Elliot Wilson, editorial director of culture and content at Tidal, spread the free album download through his Instagram page and Reddit. The rest of the internet – blogs, personal accounts and publications followed suit and lit it up. Through these strategies, Jay-z allowed fans to download and listen to the album for free for a limited time, deterring those who didn’t have a Tidal account from downloading it illegally.


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