NEW YORK (AFP) - Rap mogul Jay Z will release his latest album at the end of this month, the Tidal music streaming service said Monday, confirming weeks of rumors that the artist was preparing a new project.
The album, titled "4:44", will be available on June 30 exclusively to Tidal subscribers and to customers of Sprint, the telecom giant that bought a one-third stake in the music streaming platform earlier this year.
The announcement comes on the heels of highly anticipated reports that Jay Z s pop diva wife Beyonce recently gave birth to twins, making their superstar family a party of five.
A 30-second trailer released late Sunday featuring lyrics from the rapper hinted at the prospect of an album -- which was then confirmed just after midnight by Tidal and Sprint.
"Jay Z is a global icon and we re giving customers an incredible opportunity to be among the first to experience his new album 4:44," Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure said in a statement.
Enigmatic promotion efforts began appearing for the project this month when cryptic banners reading "4:44" popped up online and in New York s Times Square.
The signs turned out to be advertisements for a mysterious film available on Tidal featuring the actors Mahershala Ali, Lupita Nyong o and Danny Glover, for which a black-and-white trailer featuring Ali as a boxer was later rolled out.
The latest clip includes similar visuals and the same soulful electronic score -- and this time closes with four lines from Jay Z.
The album will be the rapper s first since 2013 s "Magna Carta Holy Grail."
Though fans now have a release date, it remains unclear whether the album and film will be separate entities or a visual album akin to the conceptual "Lemonade" that Beyonce put out last year.
That intricate project was first released exclusively via Tidal before being offered on Apple s iTunes.
Jay Z bought Tidal in 2014 from Aspiro, a Norwegian company whose shares are listed in Sweden, and has tried to make it the preferred platform for music afficionados through exclusives, original video content and high-quality audio.
But even with the rapid growth worldwide in streaming, Tidal has struggled and remains a small player in a market dominated by Sweden s Spotify.
Sprint s purchase of the Tidal stake for an estimated $200 million surprised many industry watchers, some of whom had doubted the service s long-term health.