If there’s anything good that’s come from the gradual flame-out of Tidal, the subscription streaming music service introduced by Jay-Z earlier this year, it’s a series of increasingly bombastic soundbytes about the services slow growth and negative reputation among fans.
Now it seems Jay-Z is turning his frustrations on his competitors. At a private concert for Tidal subscribers, Jay-Z called out competitors like YouTube and Spotify, naming them as among “the biggest culprits” in attempting to dissuade him from launching the controversial platform and impeding its growth.
Jay-Z and Tidal have earned a fair amount of scorn from fans who see the pricy subscription platform as a cash grab. Not surprising, since the service was introduced at a press conference where the stage was lined with multimillionaire recording artists like Rihanna, Calvin Harris, and Madonna. Not really a cohesive image when the pitch for your service is about supporting struggling artists and giving musicians the compensation they deserve.
Rather than backpedal, Jay has doubled down on the initial message. In a freestyle he compared his venture to other highly praised entrepreneurs who’ve grown wealthy from their innovations without being called greedy.
“You bought nine iPhones and Steve Jobs is rich / Phil Knight is worth trillions, you still bought them kicks / Spotify is nine billion, they ain’t say shit.”
Whether it’s fair to compare a pricey Spotify clone to the groundbreaking innovation of the iPhone or iPod is debatable, but one thing is clear. Jay-Z is unimpressed by claims that he and his Tidal peers are rich enough and he’s not backing down. The service itself is still struggling to attract users, but publicly Jay-Z and other major backers remain confident and on message, noting that the service with its higher price tag and equally high payouts will benefit struggling artists more than services like YouTube. That’s a claim that an entire generation of YouTube musicians might be quick to dispute.
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