Beyonce's surprise album gives Tidal a boost

American singer Beyonce. Photo / AFP
American singer Beyonce. Photo / AFP

Streaming site Tidal has soared in popularity since Beyonce released her latest album through the service as an exclusive, although she made it available on iTunes as well.

The pop superstar late Saturday released her sixth album, Lemonade, which was accompanied by a film broadcast on HBO but whose album was initially only accessible to subscribers of Tidal.

The streaming service, led by her husband, the rap mogul Jay-Z, since then has jumped to be the most downloaded music smartphone app in both the United States and Britain, according to tracking service App Annie.

By comparison, Tidal was number 34 in the United States - behind a string-tuning app called Guitar Tuna - on April 15, the day before Beyonce announced the Lemonade project.

Tidal, which had a mixed reception after its relaunch a year ago, has heavily promoted exclusives and also saw a rise in interest when Rihanna and Kanye West initially put out albums exclusively on the site.

But West's latest album, The Life of Pablo, only went to number one after he made it available on other streaming sites including leader Spotify, showing that Tidal releases have their limitations.

Beyonce on Monday released Lemonade for digital sale on iTunes. But she has kept it off streaming sites including Apple Music and Spotify, which posted a message promising subscribers it hoped to have the album available "soon".

Tidal, which says it has three million subscribers, has been trying to seize some of the fast-growing streaming market from Spotify, which has focused on wide and easy access rather than exclusives.

The Swedish streaming leader said last month that it had 30 million paying subscribers, with at least 45 million others active on its advertising-backed free tier.

In a sign of the increasingly disjointed streaming market, leading rapper Drake is expected to release his long-awaited album Views from the 6 Friday as an exclusive to Apple Music.

Beyonce's latest album delves into infidelity and champions the experience of African American women in a musically diverse work that includes songs written with Led Zeppelin members and electronic producer Diplo.

She also employed a heavily visual element to her last album, 2013's Beyonce, which she released with no prior announcement on iTunes.


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