Tidal executive blames ‘unfair’ media for criticism

Jay Z previously claimed that there's a 'smear campaign' against the streaming platform

The chief executive of Jay-Z‘s new streaming platform Tidal has defended the company against recent criticism.

Having bought the company earlier this year, Jay Z launched Tidal in March at 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.

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.

Now, Tidal’s chief investment officer Vania Schlogel has spoken to The Hollywood Reporter, describing recent critiques as “very unfair and inaccurate”.

“Everything that has been done to date has come from a place of authenticity,” Schlogel says. “But we recognise that we’re not perfect at PR. We’re not perfect at having a polished message. We’re still young enough, small enough, maybe even naive enough to think that authentic voice would have come through by now”

“The one thing I did not expect or foresee was that if we didn’t tell all the details, people would come in and speculate and tell the story for us,” she added. “I think we [should] have said from day one: by the way, these are the programs we’re going to announce. At the time we thought it would be good to have that be its own separate event and then as these different initiatives got rolled out, they’d be their own entities

Schlogel continues, “These artists have come on to a platform to bruising criticism that is very unfair and inaccurate. Claims in the media that they’re just trying to get wealthy – which is counterintuitive because there are much easier ways of being at that stature and monetizing a repertoire – they’ve done this all around the mission statement of creating a sustainable industry, bringing it back to sustainability.”

Jay Z himself recently took to Twitter to defend Tidal, claiming that “big companies” are “spending millions on a smear campaign” against it. The rapper wrote, “We are here for the long haul. Please give us a chance to grow & get better… We made Tidal for fans. We have more than just music. We have video, exclusive concerts, tickets for events early, live sports… Tidal is where artists can give their fans more without the middlemen.”

He added, “Tidal pays 75% royalty rate to ALL artists, writers and producers – not just the founding members on stage… Our actions will speak louder than words. We made Tidal to bring people the best experiences… and to help artists give that to their fans over and over again.”