Jay Z has recently made a huge investment on his purchase of Aspiro— the company that owns music streaming services TIDAL and WiMP—for a hefty $56 million.
Essentially, Hov is pushing TIDAL forward. During a press conference held yesterday (March 30), it was revealed that some of music’s elite are also partnering with Jay in the business deal, serving as co-owners: Nicki Minaj, Rihanna, Usher, Alicia Keys, Madonna, Kanye West and more. But we must say: there were a few questions left unanswered.
To help us all out, Jay Z recently chopped it up with Billboard to discuss his reasoning for wanting to take over TIDAL, how accessible it will be for the public and how his relationship with Jimmy Lovine is standing.
See highlights from the interview below. – Richy Rosario
On when he first gained curiosity over the music streaming industry:
“A year-and-a-half ago. We saw the movement and how everything was going and figured that this could possibly be the last music format that we see in this lifetime. We didn’t like the direction music was going and thought maybe we could get in and strike an honest blow and if, you know, the very least we did was make people wake up and try to improve the free vs. paid system, and promote fair trade, then it would be a win for us anyway.”
On convincing his music counterparts to become a part of the movement:
“I think there was a bit of nervousness because of how things work: This is something new and unknown. But at the core everyone was super-excited at the idea. Like ‘Yes, let’s do this. Let’s not only create a place that has great music — let’s protect the future generation of artists.’ I think this thing changes the world for them. It makes everything different, you know? Between those things it was like, ‘We have to do this, we are almost charged in this position to do it.’”
On whether all the co-owners share equal equity:
Yes. We’re super-transparent, and I think that’s part of it. We want to be transparent, we want to give people their data; they can see it. If somebody streams your record in Iowa, you see it. No more shell games. Just transparency.
So the founding members all got the same equity, and now we have a second round and everyone gets the same in that one as well, but it’s not as large as the first tier. We want to keep it going. We want to make this thing successful and then create another round and another round. That’s the dream, that’s the utopia. Everyone is sharing in it; everyone is some kind of owner in it in some kind of way.
On making sure people who are creating music will get revenue:
“If they’re not being compensated properly, then I think we’ll lose some writers and producers and people like that who depend on fair trade. Some would probably have to take another job, and I think we’ll lose some great writers in the process. Is it fair? No. If you put in work, everyone else, you go to work you get paid. That’s fair trade. It’s what our country is built on… In any other business people would be standing before Congress. They have antitrust laws against this kind of behavior. It almost seems like when it applies to music no one really cares who’s cheated. It’s so disorganized; it’s so disconnected from reality.”
On how music labels responded to TIDAL:
I think there is a bit of paranoia in the beginning and there may still be, and I think we’ll work through that because it will be a very difficult thing for a label to tell artists when they’re streaming their music everywhere else that they won’t stream it on an artist-owned platform. I don’t see how any label can stand in front of anyone and justify that.
On making it accessible for everyone:
“We want it to be open to everyone… but the pricing will be tiered, because we want to present it to as many people as possible. But it definitely appeals to people who really care about the music and want to hear it the way it’s intended. And hopefully some day with technology we figure out how to deliver that high-def sound, maybe even in a $9.99 model. Who knows what the future holds.”
On his conversation with Jimmy Lovine:
“My thing with Jimmy is, “Listen, Jimmy; you’re Jimmy Lovine, and you’re Apple, and truthfully, you’re great. You guys are going to do great things with Beats, but … you know, I don’t have to lose in order for you guys to win, and let’s just remember that.” Again, I’m not angry. I actually told him, “Yo, you should be helping me. This is for the artist. These are people that you supported your whole life. You know, this is good.”
Check out the full interview here.