Contrary to reports, Sony Music has no plans to pull Beyoncé – or any other artists under their umbrella – from Jay Z‘s Tidal streaming service. “Jay-Z is a friend and business associate for many years. I have always admired his business acumen, his entrepreneurship and his passion for music,” Sony Music CEO Doug Morris said in a statement. “All of our content, including Beyoncé, is available through the Tidal service, and we have announced no plans to remove our catalog from Tidal. Like all of our other partners, we are rooting for Jay and Tidal to succeed.”
Morris’ comments come after a Bloomberg profile on Tidal suggested that the Sony Music catalog – including Beyoncé’s music – could soon be removed from the fledging high-quality audio service if Jay Z and the label did not come to terms on streaming rights soon. If Beyoncé’s music were to be taken off Tidal, it’d be an especially harsh blow to Jay Z given that his wife was among the superstar artists that joined the rapper onstage at Tidal’s all-star launch party and signed a “declaration” supporting the service.
“I don’t know that it’s even completely accurate,” a source close to the situation tells Rolling Stone of the Beyoncé rumor. “Sony is regularly negotiating with partners. They took that point and obviously focused on one artist, which is inappropriate as well. This is a Sony Music issue and it’d be across Sony Music.”
While Tidal prides itself on being the most artist-friendly of all the streaming services, a claim reiterated often by Jay Z and Jack White especially, many musicians have criticized the service since it launched in late March. Marcus Mumford of Mumford & Sons admitted his band wouldn’t have aligned with the service if asked because “a band of our size shouldn’t be complaining. And when they say it’s artist-owned, it’s owned by those rich, wealthy artists.”
Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard said of Tidal, “I think they totally blew it by bringing out a bunch of millionaires and billionaires and propping them up onstage and then having them all complain about not being paid.”
“I thought that the people on the stage might want to be a little bit aware that they don’t look like Jay Z’s minions,” Noel Gallagher told Rolling Stone after watching the live-streamed launch party. “I think ultimately that the spiel they came out with, it was like, ‘Do these people think they’re the fuckin’ Avengers? They’re going to save the fuckin’ [world].’ I was speaking to Chris [Martin] the day after, and I said, ‘Are you after a Nobel Peace Prize? Is that what you’re after?’ They were like, We’re going to fuckin’ save the music business.’ And I’m just sitting there, thinking [imitates smoking weed] you might want to write a decent chorus for a fuckin’ start. Never mind fuckin’ royalties and the ‘power of music.’ Write a tune. Fuckin’ start with that.”
In late April, Jay Z came to the defense of Tidal, telling fans and subscribers in a long series of tweets, “The iTunes Store wasn’t built in a day. It took Spotify 9 years to be successful. We are here for the long haul. Please give us a chance to grow & get better.” White also stood up for the service in a recent fan Q&A, writing “I don’t see people saying we should go to the movies for free, or Netflix should be free. That state of music is in flux. Be on the side of supporting creativity, not taking from it.” White also promised that, despite the marquee talent at the Tidal launch, the service is “not about the rich getting richer.”