Prince's "Hitnrun" Available Starting Today at iTunes, Amazon; Did He Realize That His Tidal Exclusive Was Hurting Him?

Prince's strange patchwork of release for his latest strange (at least according to him) album Hitnrun has moved into a new phase as the album becomes available from digital retailers.

Last Monday (September 7), the album made its debut on Jay-Z's Tidal service in what was being said was an exclusive. The site, best known for its streaming services, also was the exclusive place to but digital downloads and a physical copy of the album.

As of today, Prince has released the album to digital download sites such as iTunes and Amazon taking away part of Tidal's exclusive. The service still retains the streaming rights and, for the moment, sale of the physical CD.

It has been our concern at VVN Music that the fracturing of the market for releases, whether on streaming services or ability to purchase, does not help the artist nor the music industry as a whole. Limiting the way a person can consume new music is more about the service and much, much less about the artist. Why would a singer or band want to only make their music available through one source or medium, even on a limited basis? It dilutes the impact of the release and will, inevitably, lead to lower sales.

This stepped release may have been part of Prince's plan or he may have realized that Tidal just doesn't have the subscription base to have an impact in the marketplace. Even though Hitnrun was available for purchase and stream over the last week via Tidal, the album is nowhere to be seen on the Hits Daily Double sales or sales + streaming projections.

Here's hoping that this experiment is the beginning of the end for the exclusive release deals.

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