For whatever reason, the end of the year has become music’s blockbuster season, the time when superstars tend to unveil their big surprise albums. And rumor has it that we’ll be getting another one this week. The industry website HITS Daily Double is reporting that Rihanna’s long-anticipated new LP Anti is coming out on Friday as a Tidal exclusive. According to the website, it will stream on Tidal for a week, and then it’ll be widely available a week later, on 12/4. (Rihanna also has some sort of huge deal with Samsung, so maybe this will be a Magna Carta Holy Grail situation, where people with Samsung phones will automatically get the album before the rest of us.)
If the story of the Friday release is true, it’ll mean Rihanna’s new album is coming out into an increasingly crowded landscape. Its wide release will be just two weeks after Adele’s record-crushing 25, and it’ll be out the same day as Coldplay’s possible swan song A Head Full Of Dreams. None of Rihanna’s recent singles — “FourFive Seconds,” “Bitch Better Have My Money,” “American Oxygen” — have been especially huge, and we don’t know whether other streaming services and retailers will get pissed at the Tidal rollout and bury the album. Also, Rihanna’s spent so long working on Anti — by her standards, anyway — that it’s worth wondering if it’s even any good. On the other hand, this is Rihanna, and she tends to not lose.