Jay Z

Yesterday, Jay Z Enlightened A Room Full Of NYU Students About TIDAL

Jay Z spoke about his new music streaming service and music business at NYU yesterday.

Jay Z's TIDAL has been making a wave in cyber-space and in the waking world these past couple of days. The premiere of a video including A-list members such as his wifey Bey, Madonna, Usher, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and many more broke the news of a change in music distribution. To continue the tide, Jay and TIDAL executive Vania Schlogel made a circuit on the college scene yesterday (April 1) to promote and discuss the new business venture and how it will influence the future of the music and entertainment industry. The rapper and entrepreneur made it his business to stop by NYU and Hostos Community College in The Bronx, where highly informational Q&As took place.

Hov's talk at NYU was a bit of a surprise to the students of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music, being that the event was put together in less than 24 hours. Although it was put together with haste, the video clips seemed as though Mr. Sean Carter was dropping dimes right and left. Read some of the Q&A transcription (and read the full transcript here) and peep the videos below:

Q: How is TIDAL’s payout structure for artists different from competitors such as Spotify?
Jay Z: First off, I know whenever there’s a new company people start talking about competition. We’re actually not here to be competitive with anyone. We’re here to actually improve the landscape, and just the presence of TIDAL causes other companies to have a better pay structure or at least pay better attention to it. So we don’t really view them as competitors. As I said, if the tide raises, all the boats rise.
Schlogel: So the royalty rates will be higher than other streaming services, in addition to that, there won’t be that free tier that’s depressing. Frankly, that’s part of what has been dragging down the music industry. Music is not free fundamentally, someone came in and produced that beat, someone came in and sang that song. Someone wrote that song. Someone came in to clean the studio afterwards. There is an entire ecosystem around it, and we’ve somehow come to believe that it’s OK to pay hundreds for consumer electronics but pay nothing for the music that helps sell it.

Q: As music students, we’re taught to value the quality of high fidelity music, and would most likely spend a little extra. While we might be in a minority the general public is more than content with purchasing or streaming MP3 files at little to no cost. What demographic is TIDAL targeting with the charge of $20 per month for high fidelity music? How would the option of high fidelity music attract listeners who are not in that minority?
Schlogel: There are a lot of folks who do care about that. What is also interesting is the people who maybe don’t care what music they listen to, but they are willing to pay $10,000 to kid out their household speakers and then put a compressed file into those speakers. There is that audiophile group who do care very deeply about it. And that high quality tier actually matters a lot to the artists.
Jay Z: To the first part of that question, if you consume music free, that’s what you wanna do, that’s your choice. There’s good and bad parts of a democratic society. Do what you like to do. I’m just talking to people who care about the musicians and the music they consume and that’s who it speaks to.

Q: Streaming services like Spotify can be very difficult if you aren’t on a label or going through a digital distributor. Does the same apply for TIDAL?
Schlogel: These are all things that we hear and are very personal to us, and we are addressing. So the truth of the matter is that we’re here, we took control of the company three weeks ago. We’re still a very young company, and we have a lot of initiatives we’re working on, especially when it comes to indie talent, emerging talent, giving people the ability to perform, to put their music up, to be able to control its distribution.

Q: What changes do you see coming to streaming in general and what changes do you see coming to that environment with everyone fighting for number one. Do you think there will ultimately only be one service?
Jay Z: We’re cool, they can be McDonalds, we’ll be Shake Shack. We don’t have to be number one; we just want to be very specific and great at what we do. The universe is balanced. There’s light and dark. There’s day, there’s night, young and old, there’s always an alternative. I don’t believe there will be one service. I think that’s actually against the law.

Jay-Z speaking the harsh truth of the music business. Much respect. #tidalforall #tidal #jayz #pressconference

A video posted by Zephrah Soto (@zephrahsoto) on

#JayZ #hostoscommunitycollege

A video posted by Krystin Auntee (@_phuckyobxtch) on

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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The trio claims that while “others” have been compensated, they have yet to be paid after putting time and energy into “business matters” related to the estate, which is being run by Comerica Bank.

“As this Court is aware, the Estate has now been on-going for over three years,” the documents reportedly state. “In this time, millions have been paid to the Personal Representatives, their accountants, attorneys, and legal advisors.”

The heirs accused Comerica of making money decisions without notifying them, which the bank has denied. Last year, a Minnesota judge denied the siblings’ request to limit the bank’s power over the estate.

Prince’s brothers and sisters want a judge to force Comerica to compensate them so that they can get out of financial ruin, including paying legal bills.

The Purple One’s estate is worth an estimated $200 million (down from $300 million) since his death in 2016. Prince died without a will but a judge ruled that his estate would be split between his six half-siblings. His brother, Alfred Jackson, who was 1/6 of the estate heirs died in 2019. Last December, Prince’s sister, Tyka Nelson, sold off a chunk of her percentage of the estate to cover legal bills.

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Inaugural Lovers & Friends Festival Postponed Until Summer

The inaugural Lovers & Friends Festival has been postponed until the summer, adding to a long list of music events like Coachella and the 2020 Broccoli City Music Festival, which met the same fate due to the ongoing spread of coronavirus.

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In the coming weeks, ticket holders will be informed of details on potential refunds, and more. “All purchasers will be notified in the next few days with details about their order,” read a tweet from the festival’s Twitter account on Thursday (March 26).

Hi Friends! Thanks for your patience as we figure out how to make the show go on. Lovers & Friends has been rescheduled to Sat, Aug 8 (one day only). All purchasers will be notified in the next few days with details about their order. We look forward to hosting you this summer. pic.twitter.com/MsfWaFg2uQ

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Lovers & Friends Fest will go down at The Grounds Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson Calif.

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Meet Ebenezer, The Crooner Poised To Restore Soul Into Modern R&B

Ebenezer is a man of few words but the purveyor of a million feels throughout his music. Before the novel coronavirus left the singer-songwriter isolated in Los Angeles, the London-born artist was at the VIBE office in New York a few moons ago playing his latest project, Bad Romantic 2.

A few laughs fill the room but what really takes over is the boptastic tune "3 am in London." With a sample from Kandi Burruss's 2000 release "Don't Think I'm Not," we get a look into his creative process. After revealing his origin story in 2018 with 53 Sundays, Ebenezer returned with the Bad Romantic series. It's a title bestowed to him by the many women he's dated. As a songwriter, engineer, producer, and composer for himself a slew of other artists like Jeremih, Ty Dolla $ign, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, Stefflon Don, K-Pop faves SuperM and Craig David, love seemed to slip through the cracks. 

"I always try to make time," the crooner insists. He might not get love right all the time, but his determination to enrich modern R&B is a sword he's willing to fall on. While sharing stories behind cuts from Bad Romantic 2, a grin comes across his face as every tale is connected to love lost.

"It wasn't like there wasn't any lack of effort. It's just the way my schedule worked," he said about the making of "Flexible," a track bound to lead a quiet storm playlist. "I remember working so hard at the time that I was sleeping in the studio. I didn't have any money to go home [to London] so I had to work until something gave. I would mention how difficult it was but maybe she didn't understand the hustle or the grind at the time."

His hard work led to his latest single, "Flaws And All." The track speaks of his efforts to make love work no matter what, a notion anyone can relate to. As we continue to talk about love, one thing is for certain–Ebenezer is in love with creating. His eyes light up while breaking down each track and his shoulders ease up when he speaks about his versatility. In addition to the world hearing Bad Romantic 2, he's used social distancing to produce songs via his "Quarantine Studio Sessions."

 

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Below, get to know a little more about the elusive artist, the making of Bad Romantic 2 and some of his biggest inspirations.

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VIBE: With you producing at a young age, did you have support from your family?

Ebenezer: I'm a London boy but my parents are originally from Nigeria. They were on the run from immigration at one point but after things calmed down there was a big focus on education. They were like, "No you, can't. Education first." There would be big arguments and fights but eventually, I chose music. Or maybe it chose me? I started working and producing while on the phone with artists and things came together.

But I owe everything to my mum because she is the biggest cheerleader I've ever had. This woman had three kids and did everything to get by. She held it down. I had cousins who called immigration on us and they're supposed to be family–immigration comes kicking open the door and raiding the house. So I believe that the blessings I'm getting now are from God and our prayers.

What do you enjoy the most: producing/engineering or writing? 

I don't know if I can choose. I just use different parts of my brain for producing and writing. It is fun to split them up and bring them together at times.

What's your voice in R&B today? 

From childhood to the present, I've been in piece of s**t relationships and my songs reflect that. It's not be being vindictive to my exes. I take full responsibility for the things I've done and I try to be honest as I can in my music. The worst thing I could do is be one-sided.

There's that aspect of accountability missing in R&B these days so I get it. How is creating R&B-pop music for K-Pop artists? You worked with SuperM recently and it seems like they really enjoy the era of 2000s R&B. 

It's easier because they let you do whatever you want. You want a variety of harmonies because there's a lot of people in one group. But I like creating for K-Pop artists because you're able to let every individual stand out and have their own moment. It's dope they're adopting that sound.

Who are some of your inspirations? 

Kanye West for sure. My brother was a big hip hop head so I grew up on Rakim, Big L, Big Pun, Tupac, Biggie, Jay Z, Wu-Tang, but my decade has the Drakes and the Kanyes, so they were my biggest inspirations. College Dropout was the album that had me say, "I'm doing this music thing, I don't care."

My sister is a big R&B fan. She played a lot of Jagged Edge, Jodeci, stuff like that. So I was lucky to have the hip hop side and the R&B side presented to me all at once.

In addition to love and relationships, what else drives your creative process? 

It comes in stages for me. I like to make projects with a theme. For example, 53 Sundays was a project about growing up in London as an immigrant and the adversity we experienced racism and gang violence. It's how I overcame it and how my family dealt with it.

There's a lot of self-love in those songs because nothing is free, especially coming from having nothing. You have the Bad Romantic projects that are pretty self-explanatory in the title [Laughs]. I'm going to make it all tell a story so when you look back at the projects, it's a timeline and you'll see who I am.

What makes a "Bad Romantic and a "Good Romantic?" 

My exes are bad romantics. [Laughs]

So it's their fault? 

Nah, my exes would say there are some things that I'm good at and some things I'm terrible at. There are different love languages and what someone may require, I might not speak it. I like to provide gifts because growing up with nothing, you never want to see anyone without.

But I struggle with time because I'm always working and they had it. I have this thing called "The Okay Attitude." You can write me a novel in a text and I'll say, okay. Life expectancy for us is low as it is and we spend most of our time arguing about trivial things so if that's how you feel, that's how you feel.

And a "Good Romantic?"

Being attentive, caring, not being so selfish. I don't know, everyone is different. Some people require a lot. They say, "Shower me with gifts." But others say, "I just want your time, whenever you can afford it."

Unfortunately, I can't afford it.

What do you want listeners to get from your music?

That I'm just a bad romantic that's trying to better himself.

Stream Bad Romantic 2 here.

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