Jay-Z: rapper, producer, long-time friend of Kanye West and owner of music streaming service Tidal has snapped back at remarks about his new company ‘crashing’. Jay-Z has received a lot of harsh judgment in response to the official launch of his music streaming service with remarks being thrown left, right and over the sea. The main criticism? That these artists are only making themselves richer.
Well. Yeah? Que *duh* alert. This is the whole point of the streaming service. The foundation is for artists to make money, and this is the money that the masses throw at pop singers to produce high-end quality records. Jay-Z and his band of famous accompanying musical prodigy’s support Tidal for this very reason; to give artists more control over the distribution and sale of their music.
The top three record labels in the world, Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group occupy 70% of the worlds’ record sales. That leaves a mere 30% of record sales going to independent (better known as “indie”) sales. In 2007, when EMI was apart of this group, they were known as the ‘Big Four’, although Warner Music Group bought EMI in 2013. This pattern in the record industry gives insight – it looks like the companies will eventually buy each other out and become one big scary conglomerate.
But thou hath no fear. Jay-Z is here.
Although his company in comparison to Spotify is doing no where near as dandy, it should be noted that Tidal has over 770,000 subscribers, plus they pay a 75% royalty fee to their artists. How much exactly do the three record companies that control 70% of the worlds music sales give back to the people that are actually making the art? They receive up to a whopping 90% profit, leaving the 10% of what they artist has made to the actual talent.
What makes all of this worse? Usually, artists are signed to this deal, and they make their money through merchandise and concerts (yes, there is a reason why they are so grateful and thankful when people attend…). Most people won’t know this, but there’s even a tricky record deal called a 360. This simply means and implies by the name that the major record company (either of ‘The Big 3’) will reap all of the profits, including the merchandise and concert revenue. It turns the artist into a brand.
What does this mean for creative integrity and the preservation of musical talent? It means that instead of having a career you will end up with near-squat and nowhere near as much as what you should have. Yes, the top pop artists make a wad of cash… but by these stats, they should be making a helluva lot more.
Don’t get me wrong, Spotify is great if you want free music streamed. But if you want in-depth sound engineered quality, not only do you need to throw your Beats by Dre out (…a study was done on this saying that quality-wise, they are less than your average pair of headphones – it is not all about that bass contrary to belief) but you need to start buying or streaming your music in a ‘don’t bite off more than you can chew’ manner.
Each to their own, and if your morality is okay with downloading free music in all of its poor sounding quality, then go for it. But don’t cry when autotune robots take over the music record industry… and then the world… and then even quite possible Tidal after that decides to kick off.
Heres some more knowledge for your money minds… Jay-Z’s On The Run tour donated $1 from every ticket sold to his own charity, The Shawn Carter Foundation. This charity helps fund higher school education for youths that are underprivileged. The power couple even donate their millions anonymously, except when little mishaps like this occur. (The world wasn’t supposed to know of the millions donated, though people still forget of the good that celebrities do).
Why are people so angry at Jay-Z for making money anyway? Yes, he and his wife Beyoncé are grossly rich and with a combined net worth of over $1 billion. Did you know that the power couple also give back to the community? Reports speculate that Beyoncé has donated over $7 million to a Houston charity that helps the homeless.
By now, you have probably seen the line of tweets of Jay-Z’s facts about Tidal. They are very on point and factual and definitely do not beat around the bush. Can we all just take a moment for the weight of tidal to sink in? If the moral of the company actually does kick off, it would mean that indie musicians would get the chance that they deserve to hit it big without that hefty record label jargon that ruins musicians’ integrity and spirits.
I’m sure if Tidal wasn’t backed by names such as Kanye, Madonna, Rihanna and the outspoken Jack White that it wouldn’t have gotten such a bad rap. Just kidding, it was always going to get a bad rap? You want to know why? Because it pissed off ‘the man’. Who is ‘the man’? The man is the boss that sits in his office calling all the shots and telling you that you’re not good enough or that he cannot be overpowered by mere mediocracy and hard work.
I’m not endorsing Tidal, but the idea in theory is lovely. Giving back to musicians that share with us their art isn’t so horrible. Don’t let the record labels win. In fact, think of Josie and the Pussycats (2001). Spoiler Alert: They overcame the brain washing of record labels through subliminal messaging. If you haven’t seen Josie, go watch it now if you want to laugh at a satirical stab at record companies.
Perhaps the message of this all is to support musicians that need the push to earn enough to live leisurely (each to their own lifestyle). Tidal should not be slammed – it should be brought up by music lovers and artists.
Even artist Grimes weighed in on the matter, supporting Jay-Z and Tidal. Though she then deleted the tweets… Maybe she realised the cause was actually dead and just didn’t bother. Who knows? But the information is here. She supported the company in all of their glory and lighting.
“Mad respect for tidal!! I literally know musicians who live in cars and storage spaces etc. And I know some pretty popular musicians who still struggle to make ends meet. Unless artists have a popular live show there aren’t a lot of income streams available.”
“People have characterized tidal negatively but I promise it’s 100% artist friendly, and fan friendly since yall have the option to pay the same rate as other streaming respect to everyone involved for doing the right thing for struggling artists – this kind of thing is so important, especially for indie music! PS I AM SIGNED TO 4AD!! The misconception that I am not an independent artist anymore is incorrect, i can speak as an independent artist here. Roc nation manages me, I’m not signed to them nor do I have any investment in tidal, nor did anyone ask me to say this.”
“Ps to everyone who buys music respect! Glad to hear many of u buy music rather than stream which is the best way to support smaller artists! ^_^ and also, for those who can’t afford streaming or buying music, I do not judge anyone for that! This is a suggestion, not a demand, in sorry it has created so much anger amongst yall.”
Grimes is notably one of the only artists who is pro-Tidal and is not involved with the company that seems to have the whole world against it. The remark about buying music being a suggestion and not a demand is openly honest.
Well there you have it folks, it’s been a rough opener for Tidal but it was always seemingly going to be a wavey phenomena. Let’s just say for now that Jay-Z really only has 99 problems and the b*tch in this scenario is the company that he’s trying to run.