26 April, 2015 - RollingStone.com
"Stream of consciousness coming in 5, 4, 3, 2…," Jay Z's rarely used Twitter warned before the rapper unloaded a 15-minute, 14-tweet defense of his oft-criticized Tidal, the high-quality audio streaming service the rapper recently acquired and relaunched. Amid the recent departure of the company's CEO, a significant drop in Tidal app downloads and disapproval from some of his artist peers, Jay Z tweeted, "Tidal is doing just fine. We have over 770,000 [subscriptions]. We have been in business less than one month."
Jay Z's Tidal Service Fights for Streaming Music Supremacy
After a surge in popularity following the service's star-studded launch party in late March, Tidal has reportedly already spiraled out of the Apple app store's top 750 downloads. Despite the drop, Jay Z remains optimistic about the service. "The iTunes Store wasn't built in a day. It took Spotify 9 years to be successful," the rapper tweeted. "We are here for the long haul. Please give us a chance to grow & get better."
Because of the high-profile status of the artists Jay Z invited to join him in the Tidal venture – Kanye West, Rihanna, Madonna, Jack White, etc. – the service was viewed as a way for the wealthy artists to get even wealthier. "I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid," Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard lamented about Tidal.
Mumford & Sons' Marcus Mumford was also critical of the service. "We wouldn't have joined it anyway, even if they had asked. We don't want to be tribal," Mumford said. "A band of our size shouldn't be complaining. And when they say it's artist-owned, it's owned by those rich, wealthy artists.
However, Jay Z promised that Tidal is beneficial to all artists, not just the platinum-selling ones. "Tidal pays 75% royalty rate to ALL artists, writers and producers - not just the founding members on stage," he tweeted. "Rich getting richer? Equity values... YouTube $390 billion. Apple $760 billion. Spotify $8 billion. Tidal $60 million."
Jay Z reminded skeptical artists that the streaming service has the technology to allow musicians to see which subscribers are listening to their music and how often. That transparency made it possible for Jay Z and Jack White to personally call their Tidal-subscribing fans to thank them for using the service. "We have Tidal X - it supports artists by giving them a platform to connect with their most loyal fans. Tidal is for all," Jay Z tweeted.
The rapper also targeted unnamed rival companies "that are spending millions on a smear campaign." "We are not anti-anyone, we are pro-artist & fan," Jay Z tweeted. "We made Tidal for fans. We have more than just music. We have video, exclusive concerts, tickets for events early, live sports! Tidal is where artists can give their fans more without the middlemen."
"Our actions will speak louder than words. We made Tidal to bring people the best experiences and to help artists give that to their fans over and over again," Jay Z wrote in conclusion. "We are human (even Daft Punk ha). We aren't perfect - but we are determined."
The Roc Nation mogul closed out his Tidal defense by reminding followers that Jack White's North Dakota concert Sunday night would stream live exclusively on the service.
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