Since purchasing and re-launching Tidal in March, rapper Jay Z hasn’t had the easiest time popularising the music streaming service. The artist-owned platform, which sees the likes of Daft Punk, Coldplay, Madonna and Beyoncé involved, has been criticised by the music press and other recording artists alike — including Lily Allen — and struggled to attract users away from the likes of Spotify or YouTube.
However, Jay Z has struck back at the naysayers during a special “B-Sides” concert in New York over the weekend. One of the first instances of Tidal making good on its intention to offer special events and incentives to subscribers, the concert was streamed live on the platform, and included two decades’ worth of tracks from the performer.
Early on, he defends Tidal’s model, telling the crowd: “This Tidal thing, it’s all about the music. We’re gonna preserve the music, we ain’t gonna let nobody take our music, we ain’t gonna let nobody offer our music up, do what the f*** they wanna do.”
He then launches into a freestyle rap/diatribe, taking on his critics while calling them out for the low earnings passed on to creators. He rhymed: “Google dangled ’round a crazy cheque; I feel like YouTube is the biggest culprit; them ni**as pay you a tenth of what you s’posed to get.” More powerfully, he compares the reportedly minuscule sums paid out to slavery: “You know when I work I ain’t your slave right? You know I ain’t shucking and jiving and high-fiving, and you know this ain’t back in the days right?”