Is Jay-Z calling the undertakers or desperately making lemonade?


(Readers who choose to read other sources, too: News report here.)

ONLINE NEWS REPORT HEADLINE READS: Rap mogul Jay-Z has sued the original owners of his Tidal streaming service for allegedly inflating subscriber figures, in the latest twist to the company’s uneven relaunch.

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But Angela is going to break down the story for you and show Jay-Z where he went wrong. First, remember that Statements of Mass Assumptions will kill your business. And that was Jay-Z’s first mistake: He believed the hype spewed forth by deliverers of technology systems. That completely set him up for what happened next. In other words, he was ripe for the plucking.

Some backstory here. Jay-Z bought Tidal in 2014/15-ish from a Swedish tech company based in Norway. Jay-Z & Team say Aspiro executives, acting as a song-and-dance team, trotted out user figures that were so awesome Jay-Z & Team got metaphorical stiffies from the excitement of counting eggs that hadn’t yet hatched, and didn’t confirm those numbers until after the paperwork was signed.


Photo from
Remember this hype? Photo from

Contrary to what one assumes, the money is not rolling in even though a whole bunch of other music business luminaries stood on a stage kumbahyaing together about how Tidal was going to serve The Leetul Peepul.


Songwriter and solution inventor, Angela K. Durden.

First of all, who called BS on this solution to profits for the creator in the music business? That would be me, the inventor of Why? Because I read the contract. But that’s another story for another time. Let’s get back to Jay-Z’s troubles.


Uh. Oh. Now we have a lawsuit. You lied to us, Aspiro. Shame on you. 

But I bet — and I hope to be proved wrong, really I do — but I bet that when the entire set of contracts is reviewed by a judge, His Honor will find buried deep within the pages, about 7/8ths of the way in, what I like to call The Weasel Language such as digital aggregators are so fond.
In any case, Team Aspiro denies any wrongdoing, and Jay-Z & Team turned this into a relaunch event saying that even with the weaselly beginnings– when Team Aspiro foisted off bad numbers on them — why Tidal now has three million subscribers. See how the business has grown? We are so awesome.
Which makes me wonder why Jay-Z is suing Aspiro. My only guess would be he wants a partial refund on his purchase price because cash flow is pretty tight, maybe? Maybe because subscribers are wanting it free? Just asking.

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Photo at

Tidal’s launch — and relaunch — is all about positioning themselves as a streaming service that is artist-friendly. But when Madonna and Kanye, among other worldwide music stars, stood on that stage and talked about helping The Leetul Peepul in the biz, everyone laughed.
They laughed because Madonna and Kanye and all those others up on the stage are not DIY/Indies. They are basically sub-companies of huge corporations that, behind the scenes, are manipulating radio play and streaming payments, and perpetrating more nefarious connivances than you can imagine, but all of which confirm that The Leetel Peepul — the artist out in the real world that’s slogging away trying to make a living — will not get paid except about, oh, I don’t know…seventeen cents a song for a thousand plays.
Picture found at
Picture found at

But what Jay-Z & Team, Aspiro, Spotify, CD Baby, Tune Core, Warner, Sony, EMI, and all their “independent subsidiary labels” (quote marks indicate ironic roll of the eyes) along with the performing rights organizations who are “buddies” with all of them, have failed to see is this guy and all his friends who are now grown up and are not asking permission anymore.
So they are opting out of those huge artist-unfriendly systems and reinventing the business.
So, Jay-Z, want to be a hero? Give me a call.

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