JAY-Z’s Sale Of TIDAL Will Transform How Artists Are Paid For Music

Just weeks after selling half of his stake in Ace of Spades, JAY-Z made another power move. Hip-Hop’s first billionaire mogul sold his stake in Tidal to investor Jack Dorsey’s Square company in a reportedly $297 million deal this month. Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, also leads the mobile payment company, which now welcomes Shawn Carter to its board of directors.

The move caused some speculation among fans, especially after the Armand de Brignac sale—a company valued at $250MM three years ago—why Jay would liquidate significant investments. Tidal has been a high-profile entity within Jay’s portfolio—and a company that is also partly owned by Kanye West, Rihanna, Madonna, J. Cole, Daft Punk, Alicia Keys, T.I., and others. However, on this week’s What’s The Headline episode, AFH‘s team explains why there may be more to this deal than meets the eye.

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Jay and Jack recently invested approximately $25MM in Bitcoin development. This move may open the door for NFTs, a non-fungible token. These tokens allow artists to sell music in exchange for cryptocurrency that allows better payouts and more exclusivity but allows fans something of value associated with supporting their favorite artists—even if they lack Once Upon A Time In Shaolin money. Some NFTs can have built-in experiences that go well-beyond the virtual world, such as concert tickets, VIP access, and more. Musicians are already immersed in this, from Kings Of Leon planning their next album through NFT sale to Electronic act 3LAU earning nearly $12MM from auctioning their music (which is still available at traditional digital streaming platforms). JAY-Z, who has merged music with apparel, liquor and spirits, cellular providers, and so many other ventures, can help usher in a new way to get artists paid. This new system also may be pandemic-proof, given the way that the pandemic affected concerts and performances—something that JAY-Z, whose merged Roc with Live Nation, knows about all too well. Following word of the Square x Tidal deal, Jay’s tweets suggested as much, “I said from the beginning that TIDAL was about more than just streaming music,” he writes. “And six years later, it has remained a platform that supports artists.”

The discussion at the top of this week’s podcast breaks it all down and shows why JAY-Z is likely upgrading for a new era. As Jay told us a long time, he “will not lose.” Based on trends, this may be a great time to believe in Hova.

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Ambrosia For Heads fans can catch regular discussions about the culture on our What’s The Headline podcast. Additionally, What’s The Headline has recent interviews with Pharoahe Monch, Prince Paul & Don NewkirkStatik SelektahLyric JonesThe LOXMC EihtMobb Deep’s HavocDuckwrth, and Lord Finesse. All episodes of the show are available wherever you stream your pods.

Here Is What Else Is Happening Of Note (as discussed in the podcast)

(34:31) Netflix’s New Biggie Documentary I Got A Story To Tell Has A Lot To Celebrate

(59:24) Stalley Signs To Mello Music Group After Years Spent With Another MMG Label

(40:39) Facebook Launches App For Creating and Sharing Freestyle Video Clips + Facebook Video Views Will Now Count Towards Billboard Charts

(50:10) Drake Releases Scary Hours 2, Including “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” With Rick Ross

(1:05:40) A Discussion Of Recent Music Released By Bruno Mars & Anderson .Paak, Conway The Machine & Big Ghost Ltd, DJ Muggs & Rome Streetz, Red Inf & Vanderslice, Chino XL & Madlib, and more.

#BonusBeat: Ambrosia For Heads’ presents: “What If JAY-Z Had Retired After Reasonable Doubt?”: