Fans of Jay-z‘s popular music videos were dismayed to find that many of the videos uploaded to Jay Z’s official VEVO page suddenly disappeared during the first week of May. The videos that are now missing include some of his most popular music videos, including the video for Empire State of Mind, along with the rest of the videos from his most recent albums, Magna Carta Holy Grail and The Blueprint 3. In fact, the newest video now uploaded to the official Jay Z VEVO account is 2 years old.
Why would Jay Z–or, more likely, his press team–decide to remove such a large expanse of videos from an official multimedia account? Let’s take a closer look at why fans may be missing out on the officially uploaded VEVO Jay Z videos.
Jay Z wants to promote his own streaming service
Jay Z is the co-owner of the new video and music streaming service, Tidal, which is attempting to compete with other popular media streaming services such as VEVO, YouTube, and Spotify. By removing his newest—and, in many cases, his most popular—videos from VEVO, Jay Z may be ensuring that the videos can only be exclusively watched on Tidal. This will direct more traffic, and ultimately more money, to Tidal.
Jay Z also recently announced that he would be performing an exclusive live-streamed concert that would only be visible to members of the Tidal service, and that he would be performing some rare music that he does not often perform live. This announcement combined with the disappearing videos could suggest that Jay Z is attempting to congregate this music and videos on the Tidal service.
More artists are taking their material off free services
Taylor Swift made headlines when she decided to pull all her music from the free streaming service Spotify, which pays artists a minimal fee every time a user listens to one of their songs. Although Swift was heavily criticized at the time, she is not the only artist who has made the move to remove their material from these free streaming services like Spotify.
More artists are instead investing in streaming services which require paid memberships or other fees for streaming; some industry experts have suggested that this is something of a “bait and switch” tactic, since the artists get their fans used to listening to their music streamed—rather than purchasing physical CDs or digital copies—and those fans may simply decide to pay a little fee to stream after having been used to it for so long.
It may be a copyright issue
There are many copyright and licensing issues involved when media, including music videos, are uploaded online; these issues can and have led to material being taken down. The removal of many of Jay Z’s videos on VEVO may be related to some type of copyright or licensing dispute, rather than a deliberate removal on the part of Jay Z or his marketing team.