Skip to main content

Jay Z defends maligned streaming service on Twitter, launches exclusive performances

jay z releases protest song in honor of recent shootings performing
Adam J. Sablich /
Jay Z was forced to publicly take a defensive stance just a month after the launch of his high fidelity music streaming service Tidal this weekend, leaving the impression that some serious retooling may be in order.

Tidal, which offers both a lossless and a standard streaming experience for $20 and $10 per month respectively, has essentially been under fire since its star-studded launch on March 30, in which Jay Z, Beyonce, Kanye West, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, Jack White, Nicki Minaj and a host of other music glitterati touted that the artist-run platform would put musicians and exclusive content first. Since then, a host of bad press has hit the service as its famous partners look to secure solid footing in the subscription streaming space.

Related Videos

First, Mumford & Sons called the A-list artist who participated in the launch ceremony “new school fucking plutocrats.” A few days later, a change in CEO was announced (along with 25 layoffs). Then, Tidal fell out of the Apple App Store’s Top 700 (while Spotify and Pandora remained at no. 3 and 4, respectively). Most recently, Page Six cited sources which said Apple may be trying to sabotage the service as the tech giant gears up to unveil its own streaming service built from the bones of Beats Music this June.

Understandably, Jay Z wanted to do some damage control. “Tidal is doing just fine,” said the rap mogul at the beginning of a Twitter rant yesterday. “We have over 770,000 subs. “We have been in business less than one month.”

He went on to highlight that artists will have full control of their music, a higher royalty rate and tried to counter the argument of the “rich getting richer.”

The latter two statements are, well, simplified… to say the least. While Tidal’s 75 percent royalty rate is slightly higher than Spotify’s (claimed at 70 percent), royalties are passed along to an artist’s record label. The record label then divvies up the royalties to artists, writers, and producers as per their contract and streaming services have no control over that decision. As for Tidal being the financial underdog, Jay Z’s going to have a hard time explaining how this is the case when Jay and Bey have a combined net worth north of a billion.

But Jay Z and Co. are still hoping exclusive content will convince music fans to join the streaming service. Tidal launches an initiative called Tidal X to stream exclusive live performances tonight in New York, beginning with a J. Cole performance. “Fans will have an opportunity to see their favorite artists live in intimate venues, witnessing unique experiences that no one outside of Tidal will see,” according to a statement.

While exclusive content has been the new buzzword for up-and-coming subscription streaming platforms from the likes of Tidal, Apple, and others looking to differentiate themselves from Spotify, a few live shows and videos are all Tidal has put on display so far. Whether that will be enough to bring in new members, or cull users from Spotify’s massive user base — the majority of which listen for free — remains to be seen.

Editors' Recommendations

Pioneer Elite’s latest flagship AVR is jammed with new audio tech
Pioneer Elite VSX-LX805 AVR with a TV.

Pioneer electronics makes some of the best AV receivers money can buy, and its flagship Pioneer Elite brand is about to push that envelope further with the announcement of its latest AVR (audio video receiver), the Elite VSX-LX805. The 11.2.4-channel network receiver will be available this Spring for a premium $2,999, but that big price gets you big power at 150 watts per channel, a new 32-bit digital audio converter, some AI-driven room calibration, and some audiophile upgrades.

The Pioneer Elite VSX-LX805 is the first Pioneer receiver to be designed in cooperation with Premium Audio Company since its licensing agreement with Pioneer/Pioneer Elite in 2021, which put them in charge of marketing and selling the brands' AVR business globally (except in China). PAC is a powerhouse of home audio gear, with huge brands under its umbrella, including Klipsch, Onkyo, Teac, and Energy, so expectations are high for its new arrivals. 

Read more
What is Sonos? The speakers, app, and everything you need to know about wireless music
Sonos Roadm in three colors.

When you think about wireless music, one name comes to mind. Sonos. And unless you’re a diehard analog music fan who shuns anything digital, you’ve likely encountered the Sonos brand. It effectively pioneered and normalized the idea of multi-room, digital wireless audio, and it’s still the gold standard to beat.

Curious about what exactly Sonos does, and how it works in the same world that already includes Apple, Spotify, and even your old Technics turntable? Is Sonos right for you? Let's dig into it.
What is Sonos?

Read more
How to know if you’re actually getting Dolby Atmos sound
pioneer elite dolby atmos enabled speaker system review insitutoplogo

With its object-based sound system, Dolby Atmos is the most immersive version of surround sound you can get at home. Though it took some time to catch on, the format is now supported by Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, and Disney+. So, if you’ve got Dolby Atmos speakers, a Dolby Atmos-compatible AV receiver or soundbar, and access to Dolby Atmos content, you should be hearing Dolby Atmos sound, right?

Well, as it turns out, no, not necessarily. To understand if your Atmos system is delivering true Atmos sound -- and not just really good surround sound -- you need to understand how Dolby Atmos works with all of your media sources and components. It’s a bit technical, but we’re going to make it as simple as possible.
What exactly is Dolby Atmos?

Read more