Drake’s ‘Views From The 6’ To Be Released Exclusively On Apple Music For First Week
Last year, Drake signed a multimillion-dollar deal with Apple. He hosts a weekly radio show on Apple’s Beats 1, he had his “Hotline Bling” video funded by the company and he served as a hypeman at the Apple Music launch. So of course his new album Views From The 6 will be streaming exclusively on Apple Music when it first drops on April 29.
But Buzzfeed reports Apple is only getting a one-week exclusivity window before it’s made widely available, much like the release of his joint album with Future, What A Time To Be Alive. On a micro scale, this isn’t notable. But you zoom out and it basically confirms that the age of the wide release is over.
The past year has made it increasingly clear that music’s biggest stars have no need to maximize the number of services that host their new material. For pop’s juggernauts, the exclusive/windowed release strategy is shaping up to be the most viable option, regardless of whatever flawed chart metrics it may muddy up. Kanye West went exclusively with Tidal for Pablo‘s first two months, which kept it off the charts, and then he still got a #1 this week (and a historic one at that) when the LP was untethered from Jay Z‘s service. With Adele keeping 25 off streaming services and crushing modern sales benchmarks in the process, The 1975 getting a #1 while keeping their sophomore album off Spotify for two weeks, Taylor Swift shutting out Spotify or now Drake giving Apple Music an exclusive window for Views, this is clearly the status quo for big releases.
If you think the digital age means everyone deserves a right to stream whatever music they want, then this is problematic. But the fact is this pick-and-choose-your-streaming-host landscape is not that much different from the old pre-streaming model of going to your local CD/record stores and rolling the dice: Maybe they have the album you want and maybe they don’t, maybe you have enough money to buy it and maybe you don’t. Not all music was available whenever and wherever you wanted then. And that’s how it is now, despite our inclination to pretend that the internet means all the music is available all the time in one benevolent cloud.