The wait is finally over, and Rihanna's "American Oxygen" single has finally been released to the public. After the snippet of the song that the pop singer released in March, her fans have been hungry for more singles — myself included. "American Oxygen" was pretty much everything I expected it to be and more, with an emotional depth that connected to me on a personal level and is sure to touch the hearts of anyone who has ever been proud to be — or ever hoped to be — an American. However, those same people might be a little frustrated on Monday morning as they fruitlessly scour iTunes in search of the song they want to have on repeat all day. The single may have been released on TIDAL, but when will "American Oxygen" be on iTunes? Now that's a tough question to answer.
You see, the fact that the song was released on Jay Z's streaming website is what complicates the issue. Ever since Jay Z launched TIDAL, it has become the home to hits such as "Die With You" by Beyoncé and now "American Oxygen." Several other artists, from Calvin Harris to Madonna to Kanye, have stakes in the TIDAL wave (pun intended), and that might prevent "American Oxygen" from hitting iTunes as soon as you might think. After all, TIDAL is a brand new website, and people are less likely to subscribe if they can get the same songs from the streaming site off something they already have — like iTunes.
In addition, Rihanna's tweet implies that "American Oxygen" being released to TIDAL was done as an answer to fan request. As in, it's not an official single like "FourFive Seconds" and "B**** Better Have My Money." As in, we might have to wait until Rihanna's actual album comes out before we get "American Oxygen" and any other songs that she might debut through TIDAL. Right now, the only incentive for people to subscribe to Jay Z's streaming website is the lure of full versions of the new songs that the best names in the business are putting out. If "American Oxygen" is debuting on TIDAL, then its release on iTunes will be a long, slow wait.
The fact that Rihanna is performing the song live already might seem like a positive indication that it has achieved the single-status that will make its iTunes debut imminent, but I'm hesitant. After all, "American Oxygen" is Rihanna's third single. Since the other two are easily available on iTunes — with Rihanna having tweeted a link to the iTunes debut of "B**** Better Have My Money" Sunday night — this might be the one song that she withholds until the album release, as a gift to loyal fans who do sign up for TIDAL.
So, for other loyal fans who don't have the streaming service, it's time that you start shelling out the money to see Rihanna perform "American Oxygen" live or pray that you can find a stream somewhere online. We don't know when "American Oxygen" will debut on iTunes, but it's a good guess that the answer is, "Not soon."