The exclusion of Spotify, and other services with freemium tiers, for streaming is the latest manifestation of Sony's windowing efforts to limit free access, following the success with Adele's 25, which was kept off streaming services except for single "Hello" and achieved astronomical sales.
Tidal has experienced a huge bump in visibility of late, as Bey's splashy album drop (with attendant HBO opus) follows the explosion of interest in Prince's music following his untimely death. Tidal also has an exclusive on streaming of Prince's prodigious catalog. Indeed, since Lemonade was served, Tidal has become the most downloaded music app in the U.S., surpassing Pandora and Spotify, and one of the top apps worldwide.
How this big spike will translate into subscriptions remains to be seen, but the streaming field looks different now than it did just a few days ago.
Meanwhile, reports also say Lemonade instantly became one of the most pirated albums on torrent sites like The Pirate Bay. This follows a similar surge in piracy for another Tidal exclusive, Kanye West's The Life of Pablo. Will the album's availability as a legal download (unlike Pablo) stem this tide?