Jay-Z’s moan­ing about the ‘smear cam­paign’ against Ti­dal is not help­ing his cause

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC -

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.


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

Public En­emy

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.

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