Last Monday (9/7), Prince released his new album HITNRUN Phase One exclusively to stream on Tidal. A week later (yesterday, 9/14), it saw a wide release, and went up for purchase on iTunes, Amazon, and in brick-and-mortar stores. As is usually the case for service-exclusive artists, other streaming platforms were left out of the equation, which means HITNRUN still can’t be heard on Spotify, Apple Music, Rdio, etc.
But in an interesting turn of events, AFP points out that HITNRUN became the first album where Tidal itself also acted as a point of sale instead of just a streaming hub, allowing the digital download and CD to be purchased via the service itself even by non-subscribers. Which means that, if you were so inclined, you could go over to the Tidal website and purchase the record, and never have to have another interaction with the company ever again.
Also notable is how much Tidal is selling the album for: Digital download prices are competitive ($9.99) but for the physical copy, they’re selling it for almost $10 more than Amazon. Weird, and seemingly counterintuitive to Jay Z and his shareholders’ view of streaming service domination.
Read our feature from around the time of Tidal’s inception, Behold The Half-Assed Hubris Of Tidal.