NEW YORK, June 19 — Rap mogul Jay Z will release his latest album at the end of this month, the Tidal music streaming service said today, confirming weeks of rumours that the artist was preparing a new project.
The album, titled 4:44, will be available on June 30 exclusively to Tidal subscribers and to customers of Sprint, the telecom giant that bought a one-third stake in the music streaming platform earlier this year.
The announcement comes on the heels of highly anticipated reports that Jay Z’s pop diva wife Beyonce recently gave birth to twins, making their superstar family a party of five.
A 30-second trailer released late yesterday featuring lyrics from the rapper hinted at the prospect of an album — which was then confirmed just after midnight by Tidal and Sprint.
“Jay Z is a global icon and we’re giving customers an incredible opportunity to be among the first to experience his new album 4:44,” Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure said in a statement.
Enigmatic promotion efforts began appearing for the project this month when cryptic banners reading 4:44 popped up online and in New York’s Times Square.
The signs turned out to be advertisements for a mysterious film available on Tidal featuring the actors Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong’o and Danny Glover, for which a black-and-white trailer featuring Ali as a boxer was later rolled out.
The latest clip includes similar visuals and the same soulful electronic score — and this time closes with four lines from Jay Z.
The album will be the rapper’s first since 2013’s Magna Carta Holy Grail.
Though fans now have a release date, it remains unclear whether the album and film will be separate entities or a visual album akin to the conceptual Lemonade that Beyonce put out last year.
That intricate project was first released exclusively via Tidal before being offered on Apple’s iTunes.
Jay Z bought Tidal in 2014 from Aspiro, a Norwegian company whose shares are listed in Sweden, and has tried to make it the preferred platform for music afficionados through exclusives, original video content and high-quality audio.
But even with the rapid growth worldwide in streaming, Tidal has struggled and remains a small player in a market dominated by Sweden’s Spotify.
Sprint’s purchase of the Tidal stake for an estimated US$200 million (RM855.3 million) surprised many industry watchers, some of whom had doubted the service’s long-term health. — AFP