Sony struggles to come to agreement with Jay Z-owned streaming service
It was previously reported that Sony were threatened to pull Beyoncé’s music from Tidal unless the streaming service put forward a large cash advance.
However, now Sony Music CEO Doug Morris has said in a statement: “Jay-Z is a friend and business associate for many years. I have always admired his business acumen, his entrepreneurship and his passion for music. All of our content, including Beyoncé, is available through the Tidal service, and we have announced no plans to remove our catalog from Tidal. Like all of our other partners, we are rooting for Jay and Tidal to succeed.”
Although Tidal’s parent company is owned by her husband Jay-Z, Beyoncé – who is herself a principle owner of Tidal – is contractually bound to her label, which is yet to follow major competitors Universal and Warner in striking a deal with the company.
Tidal may be short of financing following a failed investment from Sprint, Consequence of Sound reports, citing a Bloomberg investigation. The Bloomberg report speculates that when Jay Z took over the company, he had to re-negotiate with the major record labels, with Sony proving hardest to sway. A source close to Tidal denied that the company is undergoing any financial problems.
White was among the big name musicians who helped launch Tidal this year and appeared at the launch event alongside Madonna, Kanye West, Daft Punk and Beyonce.
Tidal’s intent, Jay Z has previously claimed, is to give artists a fairer share of revenue than other streaming options, such as Spotify. However, Tidal has found itself as a target of criticism, with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Steve Albini, Lily Allen and Ben Gibbard recently sharing their views on the matter. Their criticisms included suggestions that its model will only favour mainstream acts, and that it’s little more than a vanity project.
White tackles these criticisms in a Q+A with fans about Tidal on his Third Man Records website. Asked whether or not it’s fair to charge a premium price for access to music is fair, White responds: “How much did you pay for that last movie you saw at the theatre? And how much did that movie cost to make? Don’t devalue musicians man, support them. Making records is expensive, believe us, I don’t see people saying we should go to the movies for free, or Netflix should be free. That state of music is in flux, be on the side of supporting creativity, not taking from it. this gives you that chance.”
The musician also took a shot at YouTube when answering a question about the amount of money artists make from other streaming services. “Yep, whoever started the model of making a website that gets paid by big advertisers [YouTube] and does not pay that money to the artists generating the interest. Makes no sense to an artist trying to survive.”
White also stated that he wants unknown and under appreciated artists to find an audience on Tidal, responding to the idea that the service is only for artists who are already established. “Unknown musicians don’t have a voice being heard, I want those artists to make a living at being artists so more great music can happen,” he says.