Spotify boss on Tidal competition: ‘I have 99 problems but Jay Z isn’t one’

Co-founder Martin Lorentzon made the comments at tech start-up event Sting in Stockholm on Thursday (May 7)

Martin Lorentzon, the co-founder and chairman of streaming service Spotify, has given a succinct response to the recent emergence of rival platform Tidal.

The company was purchased earlier this year by Jay Z , launching in March with a star-studded New York event that featured appearances from Kanye West, Madonna, Nicki Minaj, Jack White, Coldplay, Arcade Fire, Rihanna, Daft Punk, Calvin Harris, Usher, Deadmau5 and Beyoncé, among others. The music world’s biggest stars have since offered up various exclusive releases via the service.

During a keynote speech at the STING Day tech start-up event in Stockholm on Thursday (May 7), Lorentzon was asked what message he has for Jay Z, with his reply, “I would say that I have 99 problems but Jay Z is not one of them!”


Lorentzon also revealed the story behind the company’s name, saying, “A lot of people think Spotify is a combination of ‘spot’ and ‘identify’. It is not true. It was actually a coincidence. We were sitting, Daniel [Ek] and I in his mother’s apartment and he was screaming something and I thought he said ‘Spotify’, but I misheard him”.

The company’s co-founder also expressed his love of Blur’s ‘Song 2’ and the Mexican duo Rodrigo y Gabriela. “The track ‘Tamacun’ is a fantastic song,” he said. “It must be my most played song.”

Tidal has found itself as a target of criticism since its initial launch, with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Steve Albini, Lily Allen and Ben Gibbard sharing their views on the service. Their criticisms included suggestions that its model will only favour mainstream acts, and that it’s little more than a vanity project for Jay Z and his fellow stars.

Meanwhile, Noel Gallagher recently entered the debate, speaking about the company’s launch in interview with Rolling Stone.

“I thought that the people on the stage might want to be a little bit aware that they don’t look like Jay Z’s minions,” he said. “Madonna was pretty cool the way she cocked her leg up on that desk and signed the [declaration]. I think ultimately with the spiel they came out with, it was like, ‘Do these people think they’re the fuckin’ Avengers? They’re going to save the fuckin’ [world].’

Gallagher continued, “I was speaking to Chris [Martin] the day after, and I said, ‘Are you after a Nobel Peace Prize? Is that what you’re after?’ They were like, ‘We’re going to fuckin’ save the music business.’ And I’m just sitting there, thinking [imitates smoking weed] you might want to write a decent chorus for a fuckin’ start. Never mind fuckin’ royalties and the ‘power of music.’ Write a tune. Fuckin’ start with that.”


“I only watched [the launch] because someone was like, ‘Get on these bunch of cunts on here.’ And I went, ‘Who?’ ‘Fuckin’ your mate Chris Martin and all these cunts.’ I got on YouTube and was like, [makes crinkled face] ‘Oh. Ohhh. Ohhhhhh.'”