US rap mogul Jay Z defends Tidal venture

AFP - [email protected]
US rap mogul Jay Z defends Tidal venture
Jay Z's got 99 problems but Tidal ain't one. Photo: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Rapper Jay Z has defended his Tidal streaming service as viable and a boon to artists after a much-criticized start to the revamped company has given its main Swedish rivals at Spotify little cause for concern.


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“We are here for the long haul. Please give us a chance to grow and get better,” Jay Z wrote in one of a volley of messages on social media site Twitter on Sunday.

The US rapper earlier this year bought Tidal's Swedish parent company Aspiro for $56 million amid the rapid growth of streaming services, such as Spotify, Rhapsody and Deezer, which allow unlimited on-demand music.

Jay Z rolled out a redesigned service on March 30th at a New York event featuring fellow stars, including his wife Beyonce, Madonna, Daft Punk and Kanye West.

The artists said that they wanted to take charge of streaming's future, amid criticism by musicians – notably superstar Taylor Swift – that industry leader Spotify offers insufficient compensation.

But a number of critics, including British band Mumford and Sons, voiced dismay at Tidal's launch and especially the sight of highly paid starts complaining about payments.

Jay Z hit back and accused unnamed “big companies” of spending millions of dollars in a smear campaign against Tidal.

“Tidal pays 75 percent royalty rate to ALL artists, writers and producers – not just the founding members on stage,” he wrote, saying that independent artists could keep 100 percent if they worked directly with the company.

Jay Z also proclaimed Tidal to be globally minded, saying that his cousin had moved to Nigeria to look for new talent.

Tidal has billed itself as a service for audiophiles. It uses larger, higher-quality file sizes than Spotify and, unlike the rival, does not have any free level to subscriptions.

It has also offered exclusive material, including the streaming of the final concert of rocker Jack White's acoustic tour on Sunday.

Nonetheless, Tidal on Saturday ranked 1,027 among most-downloaded apps on iPhones in the United States and was number 61 among most music apps, according to monitoring service App Annie.


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