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For Tidal Fans Who Have Considered Apple When Music Exclusives Aren’t Enough

It’s time to go back to the company’s mission statement and put the artist first.

As I peruse through my Tidal account for Alicia Keys’ new album Here, I quickly realize the project (which is phenomenal, by the way) is sitting on all streaming platforms and not the Tidal exclusive I assumed it would be.

My mini-realization is warranted. The “In Common” singer is one of 16 owners of the streaming service and the latest to release a project after exclusive releases from fellow co-owners Kanye West, Beyonce, James Aldean and Rihanna. Tidal users have gotten used to getting music first (that is, except for Frank Ocean and Adele's latest albums) and asking questions later. We can deny it all we want but as consumers, we want to be the ones to boast about the latest album, shoe, pasta strainer, etc. first and when we don’t, we feel like losers.

Spearheaded by Jay Z in 2015, the company promised to “support the artists, create a sustainable music industry, and deliver the high-quality music and experiences that fans crave.” During its celeb-heavy launch in March 2015, Ms. Keys quoted Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche and explained their mission was bigger than music. “We’re gathered … with one voice, in unity," she'd said, "in the hopes that today will be another one of those moments in time, a moment that will forever change the course of music history.”

While the exclusive content wasn’t the biggest promise the company made, it helped keep them in music lovers' good graces. Within a year, subscription had grown to three million after starting with a mere 500,000 before Jay’s acquisition. Many of the new listeners were due to Ye’s release of The Life of Pablo, Beyonce's Lemonade and undoubtedly the presence of Prince’s entire discography. Before the Purple One transcended to the heavens, he removed his music from Spotify and Apple, allowing Tidal to become the only streaming service in the game to have the singer’s much-coveted catalog. But that "exclusive" might mean less these days.

Over the weekend, it was reported that Prince's estate sold songwriting rights to Universal Music Publishing Group, allowing the company to release the songwriter's music whenever and wherever they please. Now with one of their biggest assets losing steam, the company promises "it will seek injunctive relief if any deals by Prince’s estate violate its agreement with him, which Tidal asserts included a 'Hit n Run' remix album, another new album and rights to his catalog."

Tidal’s growth has now been pushed to the side. Apple has successfully reached 17 million subscribers, but Spotify still leads the competition with over 40 million paid subscribers. Tidal and Apple have had several public riffs, including reports in June that the latter would be taking over Jay’s brainchild. “We’re really running our own race,” Jimmy Iovine, head of Apple Music head told BuzzFeed News, squashing the rumors. “We’re not looking to acquire any streaming services.”

So now, Tidal is left riding the wave they’ve helped create: exclusive content. But that wave in itself is slowly dying. Spotify has decided not to buy exclusives from artists and UMG is looking to ban artists from releasing their projects to streaming companies. As a very fruitful year in music comes to a close, what is Tidal to do? The answer is very simple since they’ve had it all along: focus on the artist.

No, not these artists. New fresh artists whose music accumulates in the phones and playlists of aux party DJs. They're also the artists that fill the company's Rising channel. Artists like Young M.A, KAMAU and ABRA are enjoying the space Tidal allows listeners to fall into and not be overshadowed by the big dogs. Putting the artist first by having events like the Sennheiser x Tidal showcase honestly present the company's mission statement in real time.

Jay Z said it himself during his Terminal 5 show last year that he refused to be a pawn in the streaming game. “You know n***as died for equal pay, right? You know when I work, I ain’t your slave, right?” Take heed to your own words and don't let your strong but small allegiance of subscribers feel the same way.

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H.E.R. Brings All-Star Medley To Tiny Desk Set

Grammy-nominated singer H.E.R. appeared on NPR's "Tiny Desk" set on Dec. 12, to deliver a 4-piece-medley from her last four projects.

Tucked neatly behind her dark sunglasses, the songstress began her set strapped to a mustard yellow guitar with a host of back-up musicians accompanying the 21-year-old on her first solo journey with "Tiny Desk." She previously appeared on the performance series in June 2018 alongside collaborator Daniel Caesar to bring their single "Best Part" to life.

The singer began with "Going (Interlude)," a low-tempo song ushering a heavy-hearted feel into the 18-minute-performance. Keeping with the melancholy vibes planted by the first single, Gabriella Wilson – best known by her three-letter-moniker –  delivered a stunning rendition of "Feel A Way." With two-final transitions, the singer-songwriter concluded her act with "Focus," a throw back from the 2017 EP that gained her worldwide recognition, H.E.R. Volume 1.

Switching from strings to keys, Wilson sat peacefully before a keyboard playing the melody she crafted for the crowd favorite. Chaperoning the performance to a close, Wilson and her background singers played a vocal game of tag as the band jazzed up the slow beats until the set officially wrapped.

Watch as H.E.R. rocks the "Tiny Desk" set in the video above.

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Cardi B To Join James Corden On A Forthcoming "Carpool Karaoke" Segment

Your rapper’s favorite rapper Cardi B is slated to make her debut on “Car Pool Karaoke” with James Corden, Billboard reports. The Late Late Show host teased the upcoming episode, which airs Monday (Dec.17) via Instagram along with a small schedule of the show’s upcoming guests.


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Here’s what the next two weeks look like on the @latelateshow! Seeing the year out with a bang x x x

A post shared by James Corden (@j_corden) on Dec 10, 2018 at 5:17pm PST

In addition to the “Money” rapper, Amber Heard and Armie Hammer will also appear on the same episode. Corden is closing out the last leg of 2018 strong by having a slew of other prominent stars on the show on the last week before the program goes on break for the holidays. The likes of Gwen Stefani, RuPaul, Jennifer Lopez, Emily Blunt, Leah Remini, Lin-Manuel Miranda, among others will be featured on the show after Bardi’s Monday episode.

To say the least, we're sure the British talk show host and the newly minted Grammy-nominated rapper are going to have the time of their lives.

The 26-year-old's now estranged husband Offset, along with the other members of Migos were guests on the beloved show. Joining Corden as he drove through the streets of Los Angeles, the trio performed a slew of hits including "Walk It Talk It"  while also giving a nod of praise to past hits, including Whitney Houston's "Wanna Dance With Somebody."

With all the fun Migos had with Corden, we can only imagine what shenanigans James and Belcalis are going to get into.

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Usher Releases "Peace Sign" Video Off Of 'A' Project

Given Monday's (Dec. 10) debate about who's the king of R&B, one of the names that steadily popped up in the conversation has stepped onto the scene. In a visual promotion for his A soundscape, Usher released the video for "Peace Sign" alongside producer Zaytoven.

Previously, the pair hit the studio for an eight-track project that pays respect to their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. It was surprise-released in October and effortlessly fuses ATL's aura on the soundscape. Now, the "Peace Sign" video puts that decision into cinematic motion.

"Atlanta offers a certain attitude and a sauce that I can't explain, and it is a little bit in 'No Limit,' it is a little bit in 'TNT.' I'm literally talking sh*t, man," he said in an interview with The Fader. "I'm popping sh*t that I haven't popped, like really ever. And that's what being in the moment creates. When you have months and months to think about it and you begin to analyze all the people who you need to think of and what you want this entire project to work out, you'll lose certain elements of your spontaneity an incredible culture that just happens in the moment. I didn't give that space. I really was honest with the feelings, I was honest with the conversation and I was really in the moment. And I thank Zay for that."

Watch the video up top.

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