Since Jay-Z debuted his new streaming service TIDAL with his star-studded group of celebrity backers on March 31 the company has been plagued with struggles. Amidst complaints from fans and fellow musicians, restructuring in their ranks, rumors that Jay-Z’s backers were disassociating themselves from the service, and poor downloads TIDAL’s executives have finally taken a stand to make a comment. Recently both Jay-Z and TIDAL’s chief investment officer Vania Schlogel have begun to defend the company, and they are adamant that everything will be fine.
Schlogel took issue with rumors that TIDAL was a vanity project for Jay-Z and his backers, including the likes of Rihanna, Madonna, Beyonce, and Kanye West. She vowed “everything that has been done to date has come from a place of authenticity.” She blames the young company’s PR practices for some of the negative assumptions. “We’re still young enough, small enough, maybe even naïve enough to think that authentic voice would have come through by now.”
She went on to state perceived shortcomings in their introduction to the public, pondering if it would have been easier for the group to release their full intentions from the beginning. Schlogel stood by the artists who joined the project, stating “these artists have come on to a platform to bruising criticism that is very unfair and inaccurate.” Her argument claims that there are much easier ways for the artist to earn money than through opening TIDAL, implying that this project was all about helping fellow musicians. “They’ve done this all around the mission statement of creating a sustainable industry.”
Recently Jay-Z has also taken to social media to publish a series of messages in an effort to clear up any misconceptions the public had about his service. He blamed the misconceptions on a million plus dollar smear campaign, implying that his competition was trying to ruin TIDAL before it could get itself off the ground. He continued by imploring for fans to “give us a chance to grow and get better,” vowing “we made TIDAL for fans.” Regarding complaints about royalties, Jay alleged that the company would pay a “75% royalty rate to ALL artists, writers, and producers.”
In an effort to combat poor downloads, both Jay-Z and Jack White have taken to calling fans who have purchased a subscription to TIDAL. They have also continued to release exclusive content to the service. Recently it has been rumored that Jay-Z and Beyonce would be releasing a surprise collaborative album through the service, and it has also been alleged that Jay-Z would be live streaming a performance of some of his most critically acclaimed but less publicized hits.
Jay-Z’s allegation of a smear campaign have been blamed for issues that Rihanna experienced when she released her current single “American Oxygen” for purchase on iTunes. Rihanna released the single’s music video as exclusive content on TIDAL before releasing it to the public for purchase. The release was plagued with a series of difficulties that some fans suspect were created by iTunes to discourage artists to share exclusives with TIDAL. As the debate wages, the public will have to wait and see how the streaming service performs in the coming months.
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