Jay Z takes to Twitter to respond to Tidal criticism

Music streaming service has been deeply criticised since its launch

With the firestorm of criticism and negativity being aimed at music streaming service Tidal showing no signs of slowing down, owner Jay Z has taken to Twitter to get some dirt off his shoulder. The rapper and entrepreneur has posted a lengthy defence of the service and its progress, and has claimed that “big companies” are “spending millions on a smear campaign” against it.

Having bought the firm from the Norway-based media technology corporation Aspiro earlier this year, Jay launched Tidal at a star-studded New York event on March 30 that featured appearances from Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Coldplay, Arcade Fire, Rihanna, Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, Usher, Deadmau5 and Beyoncé, among other stars. The service’s intent, Jay said, was to give artists a fairer share of revenue than other streaming options, such as Spotify.

But it’s been a rocky start for Tidal. This week it was revealed that the software has dropped out of the top 700 apps downloaded from the iTunes Store, while Spotify, Beats Music and Pandora have seen their number of downloads substantially increase. Tidal, as well as the lush launch event, have also been scolded by other musicians, including Mumford & Sons, Steve Albini, Lily Allen and Ben Gibbard. Their criticisms included suggestions that its model will only favour mainstream acts and that it’s little more than a vanity project.

The company also parted ways with its Chief Executive Andy Chen last week. Chen was the CEO of Tidal’s parent company, Aspiro, when it was purchased by Jay in March. He has been replaced by former CEO Peter Tonstad.

Speaking via Twitter today, Jay – an infrequent social media user – has attempted to clear the air about Tidal’s business model and assure users that the company is moving forward at a satisfactory pace. Read his Tweets below.