New York University students got a chance to learn more about TIDAL straight from Jay Z yesterday (April 1). Hovito and TIDAL executive Vania Schlogel stopped by the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music to answer questions about the service and maybe sell more people on the idea.
For one, Shawn Carter doesn’t see streaming giant Spotify as a competitor. “I know everyone thinks ‘new company, main business competitor is Spotify,’ but we’re really not here to compete with anyone, we’re actually here to improve the landscape,” Jay explained. “If just the presence of TIDAL causes other companies to have better pay structure or to pay more attention to it moving forward, then we’ve been successful in one way. So we don’t really view them as competitors. As the tide rises, all the boats rise.”
Spotify offers free service and a $9.99 a month plan, while TIDAL starts at $9.99 and runs $19.99 for top-tier service (the company will also look into giving student discounts). On the contrary, Spotify essentially pays artists pennies for millions upon millions of streams, while TIDAL offers better royalties.
But even if the Roc Nation mogul has the artists covered, it’s the consumers who need more convincing. Nonetheless, Jay wants TIDAL to be known as a “destination for really good music” and other content. “I think the idea of putting the music in front once again is what TIDAL is about,” he said. “Putting the artists in front. The artists own the company — you’re cool with that, right?”
Later, Hov hit back at criticism about getting music’s biggest artists to sign a TIDAL “declaration” instead of using their power for more pressing social issues, like the unrest in Ferguson. The 46-year-old pointed out that “everyone has to play their part” to bring about change.
“It’s like, okay, J. Cole is out in St. Louis. I wasn’t in St. Louis, but I was in the governor’s office,” he said. “Because, we can march all day long but if the laws don’t change, then we’ll be marching again and it’ll just be a different slogan on the shirt, and that’s a greater tragedy as well.”
Other highlights include his response to the “rich getting richer” complaints (he’s clearly been reading social media), noting that Apple executives don’t get the same treatment when new products are introduced.
All in all, the students enjoyed getting a “face to face” with Jay and Schogel, NYU Assistant Arts professor Errol Kolosine, who moderated the Q&A, told BET.com. “It was exciting for these students to have this opportunity to discuss TIDAL.”