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Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' could be a permanent Tidal streaming exclusive (updated)

Reports suggest the album might never hit other streaming services.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
April 24, 2016
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The crew at Tidal just scored another exclusive album... and this time, its creator might not have second thoughts about the deal. Beyoncé has released the visual album Lemonade solely on Tidal, and sources speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Mashable and The Verge understand that the superstar's latest will be locked to that one streaming service "indefinitely." It might even be a permanent exclusive, according to the insiders. You'll have the option of buying the album from third-party download services in the weeks ahead, but you'll likely be out of luck if you prefer on-demand rivals like Apple Music or Spotify.

We've reached out to Tidal to see if it can confirm the terms of the arrangement. It won't be completely surprising if this really is a permanent exclusive, especially since Beyoncé's husband Jay-Z is a Tidal co-owner. Even so, it comes less than 3 years after Beyoncé surprised just about everyone with an iTunes-only album. If you needed proof of how much the digital music landscape has changed between then and now, you just got it.

Whether nor not this gamble works is another matter. The launch triggered a surge in demand for Tidal's app as people rushed to sign up, but there's no guarantee that the curiosity will persist, or that listeners will stick around once their trial period is over. Remember, Kanye West's The Life of Pablo shot to the top of the charts the moment it was available on services besides Tidal -- the exclusive was clearly holding it back. Bey is arguably more of a household name in the music business and isn't under much pressure to widen access (she doesn't have to recoup investments like Kanye does). Still, there's the chance that she'll reconsider if Tidal doesn't bring the exposure or sales that she's hoping for.

Update: You can now buy Lemonade from Tidal as a download, if you're willing to fork over $18, and the New York Times hears that iTunes will have a downloadable copy at midnight (that is, April 25th).

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