Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images For Roc Natio
Le sigh. I hate that this is happening. I’ve been rooting for Tidal all the way, but this ship is sinking fast, and Jay and Bey are all out of life preservers.
The money hungry people over at Sony are saying they need a huge advance if they expect to keep Beyonce’s music on Tidal. Beyonce, who is a part owner of the streaming service, is now in a sticky situation.
She’s either gonna have to pay up, or cough up the music. Yikes! I must say, Beyonce has been breaking her back, twerking, singing, and making last minute videos down at Coachella just to get her man’s business venture off the ground. That’s what you call teamwork! But unfortunately, Sony doesn’t give a damn about her teamwork, and wants their check.
Jay Z maintains that Tidal is doing just fine, and that there is no financial crisis. I mean, he is Jay Z, and his wife IS Beyonce, so that could very well be true. Hell, I hope it is. But as expected, there are some skeptics.
Nonetheless, if Jay Z can’t come up with the cash for Sony, he faces the possibility that Tidal might lose albums from some of its co-owners, most painfully Beyoncé, a Sony artist. “I’m pretty sure most of the artists that were at the press conference don’t control their own streaming rights,” says Peter Mensch, co-founder of Q Prime, the talent agency that manages the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Metallica.
So what is Jay Z thinking? He turned 45 in December. The onetime street hustler is now a husband and a father and hobnobs with world leaders such as President Obama and Nicolas Sarkozy, the former president of France. Some say he has grander ambitions in middle age. “He’d like to be a billionaire,” says Rob Stone, co-founder of the Fader, a magazine that extensively covers the rap world. “He’s talked openly about that. But I think in his mind, it’s no longer just about how much money he’s making. It’s about his legacy and what the name Shawn Carter will mean after he’s gone.” He wants to save the music industry from the brutal economics of streaming—and make himself a fortune in the process. So far he’s doing neither.