Since Jay Z first premiered his artists-paid-first streaming music service Tidal just over a month ago, there’s been an uproar in the media over the new project. Unfortunately for Jay Z, a lot of that press hasn’t been good. Tidal’s launch party featured a cast of wildly rich musicians — including Madonna, Rihanna and Jay Z’s wife Beyoncé — all of whom were there to argue that artists were getting a raw deal out of the consumer-producer relationship.
From below layers of jewels and designer clothing, it was hard for many to stomach what Jay Z was trying to argue for. After all, Jay Z and Beyoncé together are the highest earning couple in music. In fact, they pulled in more than $175 million in 2014 alone according to Forbes‘ list of the highest earning acts in music last year.
But Tidal has wracked up more detractors than the average consumer complaining about the high cost of music and even higher pay days for its elite artists. Water companies were rubbed the wrong way by Jay Z’s pitch for Tidal — a company name ripe for aquatic metaphors. Unfortunately for Jay Z, that rhetoric got him into trouble with the city of Denver’s water supplier Steve Snyder.
“Since water is my business, I have to say, ‘Stick to your own business, man!’… I get what you are saying. Artists should be paid for the music they create. But to say that ‘water is free while music is $6’ isn’t exactly true… This isn’t meant to state the obvious fact that some people can’t pay their water bills, so water must not be free. But your comments bring up the issue of how people value water — an issue our industry struggles with all the time… All the money in the world can’t help when water becomes scarce.”
In order to truly understand where Steve is coming from, one has to look back Jay Z’s original quote that sparked the spirited defense of water. In a March New York Times interview, Jay Z does appear to insinuate that water is free to the consumer, which appeared to Snyder’s main point of contention.
“Water is free. Music is $6 but no one wants to pay for music. You should drink free water from the tap — it’s a beautiful thing. And if you want to hear the most beautiful song, then support the artist.”
Do you think Jay Z’s Tidal owes the water world an apology?
[Image via Theo Wargo/Getty Images]