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


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.

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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.

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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."

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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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