Hip hop artist Jay-Z has long made the argument that for him, making big bucks serves the greater good. Beyond Jay Z’s confessions, apologies and strained relationships, “4:44” has a deeper message about commerce, racial progress, and rewarding cultural loyalty. “4:44” is a blockbuster event whose full dissection will take a good while, The Atlantic observed:
“Some listeners may bristle at Jay-Z talking more about changing black investment strategies rather than about political obstacles and racism. Others may take issue with Jay-Z trying to conquer capitalism as it exists. Jay-Z, though, is no radical. He’s managed to thrive in spite of the odds, and he believes his listeners can as well, so long as they pay the phone company first.”
Earlier this year, Jay Z agreed to sell 33 percent of his streaming service Tidal to Sprint for $200 million, raising the valuation of the company to $600 million. Forbes puts Jay Z’s net worth at $810 million. If you don’t already have either Tidal or Sprint, you can’t hear Jay Z’s new album yet. Cha-ching.
The “4:44” album is Jay Z’s first in four years and his fifth since his 2003 retirement. The gap between his “Magna Carta… Holy Grail” album in 2013 and 4:44 is actually longer than his so-called retirement.” Fans were unhappy about his retirement so there’s a pent-up demand:
With Jay’s newfound political clout, the man behind the Katrina-damaged “Minority Report” and the sly missive, “Reagan turned me into a monster” from “Blue Magic” could be gearing up for his grandest political statement yet.
Artists including Beyonce, Rihanna, and Kanye West have signed up with Tidal. Making music available on Tidal first or only on Tidal could help differentiate Tidal and support a growing subscriber base.
Spotify has 40 million paid subscribers and is valued close to $11 billion. If you assign $1 billion to Spotify’s advertising business and $10 billion to their paying subscribers, you get to $250 per paying subscriber. It is estimated that Tidal will have more than 3 million subscribers once the “4:44″ effect flows through. By the math, $250 x 3 million =$750 million. Tidal won’t be valued by paying subscribers alone. There are a lot of other factors to consider.
Before the launch of “4:44,” Jay Z boldly pulled all of his albums off of Spotify and Apple Music. If Beyonce follows and you can only stream Jay Z and Beyonce on Tidal, we can expect this to support a Tidal valuation of over $1 billion.
Jay-Z and Beyonce’s increasing brand power should command some form of premium: “4:44″ has proven that the affinity towards their brands could actually be increasing with age.
Tidal’s exclusive streaming of “4:44” helped boost the music streaming app to No. 1 in Apple’s App Store for the first time since Valentine’s Day 2016, when Kanye West’s “The Life of Pablo” was released on the app exclusively, according to Apptopia, which tracks app trends, CNN reported.
With Tidal’s valuation and subscriber base increasing, Jay-Z can use the Tidal equity as currency to go lock up more artists, paying them with equity vs cash.
The reason you don't have Jay Z new album is because you don't support black businesses. @Tidalhifi
— Charlamagne Tha God (@cthagod) June 30, 2017
Some Black influencers are now seeing being a paid subscriber as a required vote of confidence for Black business. Some Black consumers are turning their back on illegal music downloads in favor of paying for good music with cultural loyalty in mind.