In the old days, you never knew which CDs the record store would have in stock.
That limitation of physical media was supposed to be solved by digital. Back in the 1990s, technology evangelists and music fans alike began to talk about a “celestial jukebox” — a utopian ideal in which every song ever recorded would be available at a click.
In reality, even a celestial jukebox has gaps. Or more precisely, numerous jukeboxes have come along – iTunes, Pandora, Spotify, SoundCloud, YouTube – and each service has had gaps in its repertoire. And those gaps have been growing bigger and more complicated as artists have wielded more power in withholding their music from one outlet or another.
This week, it emerged that Jay Z had removed some of his albums from a number of major online outlets like Spotify and Apple, in favor of Tidal, the streaming service that he bought a year ago for $56 million. That may help Tidal attract more paying subscribers, but it can be frustrating for consumers that no single outlet has everything.
Here is a sampling of some other major artists whose music has accounted for some of the gaps in the streaming world.
In the most prominent example of the conflict between artists and streaming services, Ms. Swift removed all her music from Spotify in November 2014, just after she put out her album “1989.” She criticized Spotify’s business model, in particular its insistence that music should be available on both its free and paid versions. (Spotify has not budged from that model.) She later struck a deal to put the album in Apple Music, which has no free version, although new customers can sample it for three months without paying a fee.