Jay-Z Pulls iTunes Distribution on Latest Release

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Jay-Z has opted not to license his latest album effort to iTunes, a move designed to protect the album format.

The album, American Gangster, is connected to the major motion picture bearing the same name.  Discussing the move, Jay-Z noted that “as movies are not sold scene by scene, this collection will not be sold as individual singles.”  Fans can download the entire album download from other digital stores, including Amazon, Rhapsody, and Rocafella.com.  But Apple requires all artists to offer individual downloads, a sticking point for Jay-Z.

Jay-Z is not the only voice defending the album format, though numerous holdout artists – including Metallica, Dave Matthews Band, and Red Hot Chili Peppers – eventually caved to iTunes.  In fact, the Jay-Z album was initially available on iTunes as a pre-order, and earlier albums have been available for years.  Despite this, Jay-Z has suddenly experienced a sudden change of heart.  “No one can dictate to an artist, any artist, how they should express themselves,” the rapper said.

Of course, few would contest the right of self-expression, though modern fans are most comfortable with individual tracks.  In a previous era, fans were forced into bundled album purchases, though digital distribution helped to satisfy appetites for one-off tracks.  American Gangster is the tenth studio album from Jay-Z.