Update, 12:15pm: Some Spotify users have reported the album is once again unavailable to stream. It’s unclear if it will return, or if the restoration was a 24-hour fluke.
After more than a year away, Jay-Z and Kanye West’s 2011 collaborative album Watch the Throne has returned to Spotify — quietly, and without fanfare.
The record’s history on the platform has been somewhat opaque. In April 2017, Jay-Z abruptly wiped the bulk of his catalog from Spotify and a few other streaming services, making his albums exclusively available on Tidal, the rival streaming service that the rapper owns. Spotify said in a statement at the time that the removal was done “at the request of the artist.” This week, Watch the Throne — a blockbuster joint album that has only grown in critical stature since its release — was restored to the streaming service, but neither of the artists’ publicity teams has given an announcement or explanation for the change. And Jay-Z fans shouldn’t cheer too hard: The rest of his albums remain unavailable to stream on Spotify.
Kanye’s full catalog, meanwhile, has long been available on Spotify. As Genius points out, Kanye ended his exclusivity agreement with Tidal last summer after accusing the service of not paying him what he was owed — a move that led to a falling out with Jay-Z and may have triggered Watch the Throne‘s restoration this week. Jay-Z certainly hasn’t come around to being a Spotify fan: He and Beyoncé took a direct shot at the streaming service this summer on their joint album Everything Is Love (it doesn’t get any more clear cut than Beyoncé trilling out “If I gave two fucks about streaming numbers I woulda put Lemonade up on Spotify / Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you”).
Watch the Throne‘s return to Spotify serves as another reminder that the catalogs of streaming services, even if teeming with tens of millions of songs at any given time, are not permanent, and music can appear and disappear on a whim.
A Spotify spokesperson did not immediately respond to Rolling Stone‘s request for comment.