Jay Z, Tidal and Philanthropy: Is There a Linking Factor?

Jay Z

Jay Z

Recently, there have been a lot of attacks coming from Jay Z. These attacks are targeted at Spotify, Apple and Google. These companies offer music streaming services and are seen as the major competition Jay Z’s Tidal is facing. In addition to this, Jay Z and wife Beyonce have recently been linked to charitable activities. This comes as a surprise since the couple is not known for their altruistic nature. These strange acts of charity have made people wonder if there is indeed a linking factor between his philanthropy and his attempt at marketing Tidal.

In March 2015, there was a massive social media campaign aimed at promoting a new  music streaming service called Tidal. Tidal is a subscription based music streaming service now owned by Project Panther Limited. Tidal was previously owned by Aspiro until early this year when it was acquired by Project Panther Limited, which is a company owned by Jay Z. Since its launch, Tidal has not done as well as expected. In fact, in recent rankings, Tidal is said to be 24 spots behind its arch rival Spotify.

Given this state of affairs, the artist has gone all out to vent through songs. He has even released a “diss track” aimed mainly at Spotify, Apple and Google. It is clear that the artist is not happy that his company is not doing as well as expected despite the claim that Tidal offers the best royalty percentage to artists. The artist is now seen to be doing all within his power to increase the popularity of his company.

With all these going on, it was a surprise to hear of Jay Z dolling out thousands of dollars for the bail of arrested protesters of police brutality in Baltimore. To further increase the surprise, Beyonce, his wife, was seen in Haiti visiting the victims of the 2010 earthquake. Though Jay Z and wife Beyonce both run a scholarship foundation, they have come under attack from activists like Harry Belafonte who do not feel that the star is playing his role as a major social figure. Belafonte actually said the artist, and those like him, were turning their backs on social responsibility.

In response to Harry Belafonte accusations, Jay Z said amongst other things that his presence is charity. He explained that just like President Obama, he gave people hope. This response tends to give some credence to the questions people are asking now regarding his sudden increased altruism. Is this another marketing strategy aimed at publicizing Tidal? It could be a strategy that by increasing their philanthropic activities, they may improve people’s disposition towards Tidal.

Clearly, these are mere conjectures and speculations. Critics are really trying to establish the linking factor between the star’s philanthropy and Tidal. Whether they will find this link is left to be seen. It is however hoped that Jay Z and Beyonce will continue with these new acts of philanthropy even if Tidal’s lot does not improve. If for nothing else, to prove their critics wrong.

By Chimerenks Odimba


Business Insider: Jay Z released a new version of a diss track hitting out at Spotify, Apple and Google
CNN: What’s behind Jay Z and Beyonce’s charity?
Time: We Fact-Checked All of Jay Z’s #TidalFacts

Photo Courtesy Penn State’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License