Jay Z Says Music Has Been Devalued
Today (March 30), Jay Z held what might as well have been the Sermon on the Mount for music streaming conglomerates. The rapper, who recently purchased Scandinavian digital music giant Aspiro for some $56 million dollars, is celebrating the de facto relaunch of Tidal, the high-fidelity streaming service that Jay hopes will help bring value back to music and, with it, more tangible results--dollars, publishing splits--to its creators.
Jay spoke with Billboard today about what Tidal means to music, how he and the rest of the major label system hope to adapt to digital platforms and how the star-studded social media campaign came to be. "I talked to everyone one on one about music and about what they would like to see in a service," Jay said of the other artists who have endorsed Tidal, including such disparate acts as Daft Punk and Madonna. "I wanted to know if they were willing to take a chance, since everyone’s names are attached and their reputations, too."
Jigga also addressed how music has been devalued saying, "Music is … imagine your life without music. It’s a very valuable part of your life, and like I said, that’s why we got in this business. It seems to be going the other way. People are not respecting the music, and [are] devaluing it and devaluing what it really means. People really feel like music is free, but will pay $6 for water. You can drink water free out of the tap, and it’s good water. But they’re OK paying for it. It’s just the mind-set right now."
The Blueprint rapper went on to say that the new business model aims to bring more revenue to the below-the-line creative contributors. "I can go on tour," Jay explained. "But what about the people working on the record, the content creators and not just the artists? 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."
Hov also spoke at length about the corporate structure (each of the 16 founding members have been gifted 3% equity; the remaining shares are owned by Jay, the involved record labels and another investor, according to a separate Billboard report) and his hopes for how the service can inspire daring creative choices (he envisions 18-minute songs). The standard version of Tidal will be available for $9.99 per month, while the higher quality audio will run $19.99.
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