Have you heard Rihanna's new single, "American Oxygen"? Unless you're a subscriber to Tidal, the new streaming service Jay Z revealed in a star-studded press conference last week, the answer is probably not.
The fact that Rihanna's parent label, Universal Music Group, has released the mega-star's latest single only on Tidal is proof of how serious the labels are about driving listeners to subscription-only streaming services, and how quickly they're prepared to move. While those willing to do some internet digging can find "American Oxygen" streaming via some share sites, the song's not currently available via any major streaming service but Tidal. UMG is also actively removing clips of Rihanna performing the song live, presumably to make Tidal the sole streaming source.
"American Oxygen," which was produced by Alex Da Kid and has a soaring energy reminscent of a song like Jay Z "Empire State of Mind," (there's a reason it's been used in commercials for CBS' March Madness coverage) will appear on Rihanna's upcoming R8 album, which does not currently have a release date. The song is streaming via Tidal now; without a subscription, listeners can only hear a low-quality, 30 second clip. Rihanna is listed as a co-owner of the service.
We're only going to see more Tidal-exclusive releases like this in the future, will you be signing up for the service? If you've heard it, what do you think about "American Oxygen"?
UPDATE: Shortly after this story was first posted, Rihanna's official video for "American Oxygen" was released, also exclusively on Tidal. It will be fascinating to watch how long it takes before the video also officially appears on YouTube (if it ever officially appears on YouTube).
[Nathan S. is the managing editor of The DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.]