Rumor has it Apple is behind DJ Akademiks bashing Tidal these days. No one knows for sure if Apple and Akademiks have a pact to take down Tidal but it appears so. Apple Music is trying hard to take-over the streaming world and using “independent” influencers to do so isn’t a far stretch. With over 1 Million Youtube subscribers and a hosting show at Complex, DJ Akademiks is the perfect person to do Apple’s dirty work especially given the fact that he is Black. Jay-Z may feel less threatened by a Black influencer rather than a non-minority conglomerate. However, Jay-Z is a smart man and took down the likes of Akademiks type rappers before so pretty sure he knows how to handle this situation.
Why does Apple want to take down Tidal? Well, Apple Music purchased Beats by Dre for $3 Billion a few years ago so the giant is known for acquiring competing services. Second, Tidal has influence over Hip Hop, Pop and other artists with large followings and a catalogue of hits. Kanye is one such artist and even despite recent events, people regard him as a musical genius. Third, Tidal has the reputation as the best-quality high definition streaming service. Apple Music has 27 million paying subscribers but adding Tidal’s 4.2 million would bring them closer to Spotify’s 50 million customers.
Though Tidal is small, its’ growth is very fast and Apple might have considered that aspect. At the time when Beats was bought by Apple Music, Beats had only 100000 subscribers. Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) certified Jay-Z’s latest album 4:4 as Platinum within a week after its release. The album could achieve the platinum status so quickly because the downloads were made exclusive to existing subscribers of Tidal and also to the subscribers of Sprint. The platinum certification to Jay Z’s 4:44 by RIAA within a week of its release means that one million copies were sold in US. This is a great achievement and the tremendous sales made Jay-Z’s 4:44 the sixth biggest selling album during the current year. The fact that 4:44 is available only on Tidal makes the achievement more impressive.
One million copies were really sold or the numbers were fudged?
The fans of Jay-Z are always eager to listen to his album irrespective of how they get the album. It was reported that just in one week 4:44 was illegally downloaded about a million times. This fact cannot be ignored while considering the sales figures of Jay-Z’s album. A photograph was released which shows Jay-Z receiving the platinum award. A popular magazine gave the shocking news that the photograph was taken before the release of the album. Sprint is a major shareholder in Tidal and their advertising strategy for Jay-Z’s 4:44, helped him gain platinum status faster.
When Sprint pays for each copy of the album, the sale becomes eligible for platinum certification. Obviously, the downloads initiated by Sprint enabled Jay-Z’s 4:44 to achieve platinum certification. Tidal cannot achieve the figure of 1 million by streaming alone because according to RIAA rules, 1500 streams of a song constitute “one” sale so that in order to make a sale of 1 million copies, so 4:44 album tracks would need to be streamed 1.5 billion times in order to quality. In other words, Tidal’s 4.2 million subscribers would have to listen to the 4:44 album 500 times in just five days to be certified platinum. Jay-Z needs more subscribers to stream his album in a reasonable time frame and that’s where Sprint steps in. The 1 million copies of Jay-Z’s 4:44 was made possible by downloads through Sprint thereby disproving the allegation that the numbers were simply boosted or “fake” streams as DJ Akademiks suggests.
What is Apple Music doing?
Apple Music clearly wants to beat out Spotify for the #1 spot and Tidal could help it do just that. Though Tidal has only 4.2 million paid subscribers, Apple thinks that acquiring Tidal will increase their market share much faster given their notable artists and music catalogue. As a part of its game plan to defeat Tidal and Spotify, Apple Music may be challenging their competitors in the blogosphere arena. Many are now speculating that Apple Music is paying Dj Akademiks “under the table” to discredit Tidal in hopes of acquiring Tidal at a lower cost. Dj Akademiks is relentlessly attacking Tidal while hiding the questionable “promotional techniques” Apple employs.
However, when confronted about his views on Tidal “fudging” Jay-Z album sales, he was not able to prove that the numbers we’re illegally boosted. Industry insider and Complex Director Joe Budden debated this very issue on ‘Everyday Struggle’ and Akademiks fell short in his explanation. Though Dj Akademiks used the occasion to cast doubt on the 1 million copies sold sales as reported by Tidal, he was unable to prove beyond any doubt that the figures were fudged.