Some People Are Saying Jay Z Is Looking for a Way Out of TIDAL
You will recall that back in March, Jay banded together with many of his famous friends — Beyoncé, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, Madonna, and Kanye West among them — and bestowed upon the masses TIDAL, a new streaming service meant to rival Spotify and (in some undefined way) benefit artists and musicians.
Since that bizarre launch, things have gone sideways for the fledgling platform. Aside from the ongoing debates about its ability to actually compensate musicians more fairly or be competitive in the space, there have been allegations that the company has not paid out licensing fees to rights holders, a much-mocked photo of the company’s all-white staff made the rounds, and then there is the matter of TIDAL’s “exclusive” content, the one worthwhile bargaining chip they had, showing up on sites like YouTube within hours of release. There was even once a rumor that Beyoncé’s music would have to be pulled off the platform because of licensing issues. Then, of course, there is the copyright infringement lawsuit Cash Money is bringing against TIDAL, which could end up being a fatal blow to the company (more on that in a moment). Lastly, a little thing called Apple Music happened last month, and what little interest there seemed to be in TIDAL almost immediately and completely evaporated.
So it hasn’t been a great first few months for Jay or his service, and therefore it is not surprising that he is allegedly looking for a way out. Hits Daily Double reports the following unconfirmed rumor:
Tidal has gone eerily quiet of late, apart from statements of support from Nicki Minaj and Madonna, and the word is that Jay Z is looking to get out. This ambitious undertaking has cost him millions of his own money because he never got the expected funding, he still hasn’t paid the licensing fees to the rights holders and no one is likely to throw him a life preserver and bail him out, so he has little choice at this point except to stop the bleeding. What will his exit strategy look like? Interesting to note that it’s not Apple, Sony, UMG or WMG that could be putting the final nail in the Tidal coffin, but Cash Money’s Slim and Baby Williams, with their copyright-infringement suit against the service for its recent exclusive with alienated label artist Lil Wayne.
Whether Jay or any of the musicians who have previously shown support for TIDAL will stay or go remains unclear. But the silence from those stakeholders, in this case, speaks volumes.