Beyoncé Rihanna

Jay Z is out of touch with reality, claims companies pay to smear Tidal service

Editor’s note: No one on this website has been paid to smear Jay Z’s new music streaming service, Tidal.

After recent reports that Tidal, the exclusive Hi-Fi music streaming service that was relaunched by new owner Sean Carter (Jay Z) last month, has failed miserably, the rapper and entrepreneur took to Twitter to debunk what he calls “myths” about the service. Let’s take a look at his claims, shall we?

Actually, Tidal has been in business since October 2014. That’s six months. Jay Z bought the service from Swedish/Norwegian company Aspiro in March, along with a sister service called WiMP. In July of last year, WiMP alone had 597,000 subscribers. That means in Tidal’s first month since its celebrity relaunch, the service has brought in just under 200,000 new subscribers — NOT 770,000, as Jay Z would have you believe.

Online negativity against Tidal hit its first peak when the company’s new but already-rich owners (including Jay Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Madonna, Daft Punk, Rihanna, Alicia Keys, Jack White and more) came together for a promotional launch conference. You can’t bring a dozen of the world’s most recognized celebrities at the forefront of a new business and expect people to believe that your product benefits “everyone.” The internet (mainly Twitter and media) and lesser-known celebrities all spoke out against Tidal in the past month since it’s launch. For Jay Z to claim that big companies (he’s probably thinking Spotify and iTunes) are paying people to smear the service is ludicrous and somewhat paranoid. The resistance to Tidal is coming from people, not anti-Jay-Z marketing campaigns. You don’t see posters in New York City bashing Tidal or even online advertisements against the service. This article by The Daily Beast goes more in-depth with specific quotes from celebrities like Mumford & Sons about the way artists and fans who aren’t in the 1% perceive Tidal.

Everything that Tidal offers “for fans” (who pay $20/month for the premium service) were easily accessed for FREE before Tidal launched. Exclusives so far have mainly consisted of music videos by Rihanna and Beyoncé (which previously would have been uploaded to Vevo for free), singles like Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” (the title says it all), and playlists from contributors such as Vanity Fair contributing editor Lisa Robinson (now that‘s worth $20/month). Why Tidal even offers live sports is beyond me, since the service is, after all, said to be intended for pop music fans. Anyone interested in live sports should turn on a television. Nothing about Tidal screams “for fans” besides the owners themselves, who are artists that are used to marketing to their fans.

According to Google, Jay Z made $60 million in the month of June 2014. What the company is worth one month after its relaunch is what Jay Z pocketed in one month last year. Together, Jay Z and Beyoncé are estimated to be worth just under $1 billion (how much money they make together in a 12-month period). Consider the worth of the other 14 celebrities who own Tidal, and together they are likely worth more than Spotify. Yet he uses the company value of Tidal’s competitors to prove that his company shouldn’t be treated as if it benefits the elite. Even if we leave the artists’ individual worth out of the equation, Jay Z doesn’t understand that no one who is upset about having to pay $20/month for Tidal has ever seen $1 million. Boasting about his company’s $60 million being pennies compared to the worth of similar companies backfires with the general public.

After claiming that Tidal is doing great for only being in business for a month, and after then insisting that Tidal’s lower-than-average company worth is somehow proof that Tidal is different and benefits fans, Jay Z is asking America to give Tidal a chance to be better and become successful. That’s sort of a mixed message, isn’t it? “We’re doing great” but also “We need a chance to be successful.”

If Tidal needs to improve in any way, it should start with its owners. Rather than throwing money at their own company to make more money, people like Jay Z, Beyoncé and Rihanna should be endorsing small businesses that already work to bridge the gap between fans and artists.

Jay Z says Tidal gives fans more content “without the middlemen.” More realistically, Tidal benefits Jay Z by letting him play the middleman role himself.

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