Remember the chaos surrounding Kanye West’s release of his new album, “The Life of Pablo” last month? The artist had originally said his album would be a Tidal exclusive, which drove fans to download the streaming music app in such great numbers that it ended up at the top of the U.S. App Store. Now, it appears West has changed his mind. He’s made one of the new songs from “The Life of Pablo” available on Spotify, Apple Music and Google Music.
Of course, this doesn’t represent a full turnaround in terms of his earlier position on the matter – West had said before that the album would “never be on Apple.” That’s still effectively true. You can’t stream the entire album on the other services, including Apple’s. But you can get a taste.
One of the album’s more notable songs, “Famous,” is now available on the three streaming music services. This is the more controversial track where West disses Taylor Swift, saying he “made that b**** famous,” for reference.
But as Pitchfork noted in its report about this new release, the Apple Music and Spotify versions of “Famous” aren’t the same as those on Tidal. (Pitchfork didn’t catch the Google Play release.) Instead, the new track is an updated version of the song which includes a change to a lyric. West had swapped the original line “she be Puerto Rican day parade wavin'” for “she in school to be a real estate agent,” says Pitchfork. This lyric was also previously changed on Tidal, we should note.
The move is not entirely surprising, given West’s other antics surrounding the album’s release. Dubbed the industry’s “first SaaS album” (software-as-a-service, that is), West publicly promoted the work, then continued to tweak it and make changes even after its release.
After pushing the album out to his website for purchase alongside the option to stream on Tidal, the artist caused mass confusion when he decided to then pull the album down in order to continue to make changes shortly after its debut.
That led to fan backlash, as many said they had been charged by Tidal for their purchase, then didn’t get the download. Tidal later offered fans the ability to request a refund, and explained to them via email that the album was delayed and they could also choose to wait. The difficulties in purchasing also prompted mass pirating of the album – according to some reports, an estimated 500,000 people illegally downloaded the day after its release.
Although West has been very active on Twitter when promoting other aspects of the album’s promotion in the past, he hasn’t yet publicly commented on his decision to release “Famous” to the other major music services.