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Kanye West's New Album Is Finally (Probably!) Coming to Spotify and Apple Music

"The Life of Pablo" leaves its Tidal-only shell tomorrow. We think.

Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Kanye West’s “Life of Pablo” album — the one he famously declared would only be available on Tidal — should be available on Spotify and Apple Music tomorrow.

Probably. Because we are talking about Kanye West, so things are never locked down until they are locked down.

“That’s what we believe,” said one industry source. “That’s what we understand to be the case,” said another.

For the time being, you can only stream “The Life of Pablo” on Tidal, where it debuted in February. But earlier this week, singles from the album began appearing on Apple Music and Spotify, so the dam already appears to have broken.

The fact that any of this is a question is a testament to Kanye West’s clout. Because in theory, his new album should have always been available on multiple streaming services, since his label, Universal Music Group, doesn’t have exclusive distribution agreements.

But West, in theory, is a part owner of Tidal, which claims it has used the exclusive to boost its subscriber count. And since West has been tinkering with the album since initially releasing it, both he and Universal can argue that he really hasn’t “released” the album yet — just a working demo.

Now, apparently, West is ready to let everyone hear what he’s made. That’s presumably an artistic decision as well as a financial one.

Update: Here’s a bit more on the financial part of that equation. Moving the album outside of Tidal allows West to start receiving payments for the streams the album generates, as well as marketing support from his label. As long as the album was locked up on Tidal, in a technically unfinished state, that wasn’t going to happen.

And Kanye West, according to Kanye West (which can mean a lot of different things), says he would like some money.

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