JIM CARROLL ON THE RECORD
Jay-Z’s moaning about the ‘smear campaign’ against Tidal is not helping his cause
The very rich, as F Scott Fitzgerald observed, are different from you and me. In the case of the 1 per cent of very rich musicians behind the Tidal music streaming service, they really are different from you and me because, as we’ve been seeing, they’re rather removed from reality.
Thanks to the bang of celebrity and entitlement from the launch (let’s be grateful that Madonna didn’t try to give Daft Punk the tongue), Tidal has provoked an unprecedented backlash. The fact that the service’s app went, to paraphrase Tidal big cheese Jay-Z, from Top 10 to not mentioned at all in the download charts would be a cause for concern.
It’s easy to see then what pushed Jigga to have a go this week at the haters. He was probably home alone in his Gotham City penthouse suite looking out at the world and getting moody about the lack of love he could feel in the air.
Clad in a Brooklyn Nets’ cap, a Brooklyn Nets’ T-shirt and a freshly laundered neon-yellow pair of pyjama bottoms with an exquisite duck detail, Jay-Z decided that something had to be done so he fired up his laptop and took to Twitter.
But as with so many people who take to Twitter to air an grievance and get things off their chests, it may have been better for Jay-Z to think before he tweeted. What he called a “stream of consciousness” came across as a lot of petulance, hot air and notions.
Yes, it’s early days for Tidal under its new owners, but it’s worth remembering that Tidal was a going concern long before the music industry’s 1 per cent moved in. Many of the 770,000 subscriptions Jay-Z tweeted about, some of whom have received thank you cold calls from the new shareholders, were probably around before the new boss took over.
One of the weirdest tweets referred to “big companies” alleged to be “spending millions on a smear campaign” to stymie Tidal. I’m sure there are many people who have criticised the company’s launch who wondered if they were missing out on some cash when they saw that.
If some of Jay-Z’s big-walleted streaming rivals are splurging cash bad-mouthing Tidal, it’s hard to see where this spend is going. Indeed, it looked as if Jigga was dipping into the green ink pool beloved of conspiracy theorists.
Jay-Z obviously believes Tidal is not getting a fair crack of the whip and that all publicity is not necessarily good publicity. But people are clearly not prepared to give the service the benefit of the doubt because of the hoopla and hullabaloo around the launch.
The problem now is that die is cast and Tidal’s tumble from the download charts, Jay-Z’s kvetching about his lot and the public’s grumpiness about rich rock stars is combining to create a negative narrative.
The trick for Jigga and co is to put their heads down and take the long view. But don’t be surprised if we’re returning to Tidal again and again in 2015 as more stories emerge.
YOU’VE GOT TO HEAR THIS
As with so many people who take to Twitter to air an grievance, it may have been better for Jay-Z to think before he tweeted
Fear of A Black Planet
(Def Jam) It’s 25 years since the release of Public Enemy’s third album and it still packs a hell of a punch. Even in an era when acts such as D’Angelo and Kendrick Lamar are addressing the black American experience, Chuck D’s fierce, angry, righteous polemic and the intensity of the Bomb Squad at their finest makes for a tough, unforgettable record.
Sonic Vigil is an afternoon and evening of improvised music under the bells of Shandon at Cork’s St Anne’s Church. A total of 18 musicians will take part in a series of randomly scheduled collaborations from 2pm tomorrow including Christina Kubisch, Hein Schoer, Arif Ayab, Mikael Fernström and Karen Power. See Facebook for more information.