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Jay Z’s #TidalFacts Don’t Add Up

Written by Tom Williams on May 1, 2015

Earlier this week, Jay-Z said his music streaming service, Tidal, pays a 75 per cent royalty rate to artists, writers and producers. His words were in keeping with his company’s pro-artist line, but a Tidal executive has now explained that most of that 75 per cent is actually going to record labels.

“Tidal pays 75% royalty rate to ALL artists, writers and producers – not just the founding members on stage,” read one of Jay-Z’s tweets on 27th April, during his stream-of-consciousness #TidalFacts Twitter rant.

Vania Schlogel, Tidal’s Chief Investment Officer, has since told The Hollywood Reporter that Jay-Z’s tweets caused some confusion. She added that most of the revenue from Tidal is going to record labels, with artists receiving a 12.5 per cent royalty rate.

According to Schlogel, the “royalty rate” Jay-Z was referring to is a percentage of Tidal’s total revenue. The industry standard royalty rate, according to Schlogel, is 70 per cent, with 60 per cent going to record labels and 10 per cent to artists via their publishers.

Schlogel says Tidal pays 62.5 per cent of revenue to record labels and 12.5 per cent to artists, making up the 75 per cent Jay-Z mentioned. So while the company might be on par or even above par when it comes to industry standards for streaming royalties, the conflicting statements don’t do much to bolster its image, which has suffered from claims that it favours wealthy musicians.

In other #TidalFacts news, Time Magazine have fact-checked the rapper’s list of claims, and found that his claim that Tidal racked up 770,000 subscribers during “less than one month” as a business, is untrue.

Time Magazine cleverly point out that most of those 770,000 users were part of Tidal before Jay-Z became involved. Aspiro, the company behind Tidal, previously had another music streaming service called WiMP, which had 500,000 paying subscribers at the end of 2014.

In March this year, the WiMP and Tidal platforms were merged before Tidal’s official launch, so it’s unclear how many new subscribers they’ve notched up since the merger.

So if you’re not ready to enjoy this brilliant Tidal spoof video or delve through this #TidalFacts parody Twitter account after all of that, you’re probably one of those 770,000 subscribers.

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